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Mother of Homicide Victim Calls Arrest "Bittersweet"

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Ericka Adim wept Wednesday morning when she was told an arrest had been made in the shooting death of her son.

About a dozen police officers swarmed the house at 1504 Sixth Ave. SE around 10:30 a.m. and took Dominique A. Fisher, 22, into custody. Fisher has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 22-year-old Raphael C. Blackwell, Jr. on April 16.

"It's bittersweet," said Adim, of Houston, Texas. "It doesn't bring my son back, but I'm happy we're on the road to justice. He didn't deserve this. It's just senseless."

Blackwell, of Cedar Rapids, was shot once in the abdomen around 12:40 a.m. on April 16 in the parking lot of Woody's Show Club, 9395 Sixth St. SW, police said. He was transported to a hospital where he died from his injuries.

Police have revealed very little about the circumstances surrounding the case. Details about the allegations against Fisher may be made public Thursday morning when he makes his initial court appearance.

Adim will be in attendance.

"If I have to drive all night to be there, I will be at that arraignment tomorrow, because my son was loved," Adim said.

Adim said her son grew up on Chicago's south side, but when he witnessed the murder of one of his best friends, he told his mother he wanted to leave the city. One of his favorite cousins lived in Cedar Rapids, and Adim said she gave her blessing to the move, which took place about three years ago.

Blackwell and Fisher apparently became acquainted at some point, Adim said, based on her son's Facebook account. Adim said she has not been told specifics about what happened at the strip club that night.

Friends and other family members also said Blackwell knew Fisher. William Harris, the victim's cousin, also said what prompted the shooting remains a mystery.

"At this time, we don't know what happened or what the problem was. We're going to get down to the bottom of it. At the same time, there's no reason for someone to take another one's life," Harris said.

Harris, who lives in Cedar Rapids, said police had kept the family informed, in general terms, about the status of the investigation. But the arrest on Wednesday did come as a surprise.

Another family friend said some of the answers may only come out later in court.

Monica Simpson said "the question is why. There's no reason why his life had to be taken no matter how mad you are at somebody. No matter what they did to your there's no reason for anyone to be murdered."

Police arrested Fisher last August after a report of shots fired in the Wellington Heights neighborhood. Officers in the area found Fisher in a car with a loaded 9-millimeter handgun in his waistband. He was later convicted for having the handgun without a permit and fined $625. He was not charged in that shooting.

According to online court records, Fisher was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia late last year. He was released on bond and had accepted a plea deal in the case. Sentencing was set for May 14.

A total of four shootings in Cedar Rapids in less than a month left seven people with gunshot wounds. Police have now arrested a total of five people in three of those cases. Two men shot on C Street SW on March 29 have not decided to press charges.

Adim said she will remember her only son as a happy kid who always tried to make people laugh.

"He had this smile, but behind the smile came this goofy giggle," Adim said.

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