Bullets Hit House Tied to Cedar Rapids Homicide Investigation

By Jillian Petrus & Jeff Raasch

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - As bullets came through the walls, a 19-year-old woman curled into the fetal position.

The gunshots stopped after at least eight rounds were fired, but the woman kept still until she heard police sirens. When she came outside in tears, glass shattered off the screen door.

"I could have been dead," said the woman, who declined to give her name due to safety concerns.

Police continue to investigate what appears to be a drive-by shooting at 649 16th Ave. SW. It happened around 6 a.m. Monday in the same area where Latasha N. Roundtree, 19, of Cedar Rapids, was shot on Sept. 22. She died the next day at an Iowa City hospital, and police are investigating the case as a homicide.

The woman, who was asleep when the bullets came through the wall just above her bed, said she heard three of the shots as she was waking up, and then heard a vehicle accelerate away. She was the only one in the house and was not hurt.

"All I kept telling (police) is, 'I didn't do anything to that girl,'" the woman said. "They thought I had enemies."

Edward Williams, 41, said he believes his son and his son's brother may have been the target of the shooter or shooters, because they sometimes stay at the house. He and others at the scene Monday afternoon referenced a history of assaults and harassment from another group of other boys.

"It's escalating," Williams said.

Police have not released any information to suggest that Monday's shooting is in any way connected to the Roundtree homicide. Williams' mother and grandmother to the boys, Ruth Fairchild, said she believes whoever fired the shots Monday thinks her grandson or his brother were involved in the Roundtree death.

"I don't want any of my grandsons to die because people are not doing their jobs," said Fairchild. "They are not part of a gang, they don't want to belong to a gang, and they are not involved with this."
According to Williams, his son's brother was at same party as Roundtree just before the shots were fired that led to her death. The boy told Williams he heard someone was going to "shoot up the party," and had walked across the street when the shots were fired. Williams said the boy has made this information available to police and has given names of people at the party.

"We're not hiding. We're available and we are more than willing to speak. We want this issue resolved more than anyone," Williams said.

No arrests have been made in Roundtree's death, and investigators have been guarded about what information they have. Williams said the violence will probably continue until a resolution in the case, but he also understands the challenges police face.

"When something like this happens, everyone starts fearing for their lives, and nobody wants to talk," Williams said. "That's the frustrating thing."

The woman who was in the house that was shot Monday morning said she has decided to move to Illinois, where some of her relatives live.

"If I stay here, it's not going to be safe," she said.
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