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The disturbance call came first.
About 2:12 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2010, Waterloo Police officers received a call about a disturbance in the parking lot of Broadway Liquor and were on their way to the scene when another call came in to dispatchers; the second call reported gunshots fired in the same area.
A short time later, officers arrived and discovered a black male — suffering from an apparent gunshot wound — lying in the grassy area between the street and sidewalk in front of 912 Broadway Street, which is across the street and about a half block down from the liquor store. The victim was identified as 23-year-old Rodricus Keith Echols of Waterloo, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Lakisha Brown, Echols’ girlfriend of 17 months, confirmed the body’s identity through an ID card police found on the body and showed to her.
A neighbor, Liz Hess, told police she’d heard either four or five gunshots before making the call to police.
Waterloo Police Department Lt. Michael McNamee announced Sunday afternoon that it appeared Echols was shot in the same location where his body was found, and that it wasn’t clear whether or not the liquor store parking lot disturbance and shooting were related.
After closing off a two-block section of Broadway Street, investigators searched the liquor store’s parking lot as well as the yards of 908 and 912 Broadway.
Neighbors told the WCF Courier they’d noticed an uptick in late-night activity in the neighborhood since a new bar opened. Hess said the street now boasted an assortment of bars and liquor stores in close proximity to each other.
“This used to be a very nice quiet neighborhood,” she told the Courier. “This is getting ridiculous.”
The state medical examiner ruled Echols’ death a homicide. It was the city’s fourth homicide that year.
Echols’ murder wasn’t the first tragedy the Jones/Echols family had experienced; three years earlier, Echols’ brother, Rodney Echols Jr., had been gunned down in Memphis, Tennessee, in what their father told the Courier was a “street shooting” that still remained unsolved.
“The streets took two of my kids from me,” Rodney Echols Sr. of Waterloo said in a story published September 14, 2010. “This is the second child I lost.”
Echols Sr. said his younger son was only 19 when killed and that the homicides weren’t related.
Echols Sr. also told the Courier he was upset with authorities because they hadn’t allowed him to go near his son’s body — which remained on the ground for hours — and that they’d kept him behind the crime scene tape.
“They could have let me view my son as they were taking him off the ground,” he said.
“Little Rod” Echols had moved to Waterloo from Memphis, Tennessee, two years earlier in order to be closer to his father and also find better opportunities than Tennessee had to offer.
Nearly two years later and after exploring several options, he’d decided welding would be a good fit and had just begun his technical studies at Hawkeye Community College; the degree could lead to steady employment with a decent salary and would come in handy with Brown’s three daughters, whom he was helping raise.
“He was like a father to them,” Brown told the Waterloo Courier. “My kids called him daddy.”
Neither Brown nor Echols’ father could think of any reason why someone would want to kill him. Echols Sr. said he was just praying and “leaving it in the hands of God.”
Rodricus Keith “Little Rod” Echols was born November 7, 1986, in Memphis, TN, to Patricia and Rodney Echols Sr. He was a graduate of Northside High School and a student at Hawkeye Community College. He died September 10, 2010, a victim of a homicide.
Visitation was held Friday, Sept. 17, 2010 from 4 – 6:30 p.m., with services held 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 18, at N.J. Ford & Sons Funeral Home in Memphis, TN.
He was buried in Galilee Memorial Gardens in Memphis.
Rodricus leaves behind his mother, Patricia Echols of Memphis; his father, Rodney Echols Sr. of Waterloo, IA; a sister, Schoia Echols of Memphis; two brothers, Rodarius and Rodonus, both of Memphis; a grandmother, Martha Echols of Memphis; a godson, Da’Rondis of Waterloo; a host of aunts, uncles, two nieces, one nephew, cousins and other relatives; and his girlfriend, Lakisha Brown of Waterloo, and her three daughters.
He was preceded in death by a brother, Rodney Jr. of Memphis.
If you have any information regarding Rodricus Keith Echols’ murder, please contact the Waterloo Police Department at 319-291-4340 ext. 3, Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers at 1-855-300-TIPS (8477), or submit an anonymous tip online via Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers.
Waterloo Neighbors Claim Some Establishments Bring Danger to Community
KCRG-TV Channel 9, Sept. 13, 2010