Gunman kills Ashtabula woman in broad daylight: ‘In the wrong place at the wrong time’

Published: May. 6, 2023 at 7:05 PM EDT
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ASHTABULA, Ohio (WOIO) - 19 News has learned the identity of the woman who was shot and killed outside of an auto parts store at 1124 West Prospect Road in Ashtabula on Friday.

The victim’s daughter Ta’la Calloway of Columbus tells 19 News, her mother Rihana Gilbert was shot and killed when a gunman opened fire in the middle of the afternoon.

“It was a random shooting, no motive, nothing like that,” Calloway said. “My mom she was just a good person who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Calloway says police at this point have not been able to provide the family with many details at this time.

But, she says she started getting calls asking if her mom was okay.

“I wasn’t even really sure what was going on yet. I then found out that she got shot and was dead already. I don’t even think she ever made it to the hospital. I think she was pronounced dead at the scene,” Calloway said. “My mom didn’t deserve this and the man with the gun deserves to pay for what happened. I will fight for justice for my mom and she has a large group of friends and loved ones in the community who will fight to get justice for her.”

Gilbert’s daughter says her mom was born and raised in Ashtabula and had just moved back a number of months ago.

The Ashtabula woman was not only a mother of two, but a grandmother, a business owner, a fiance, and she was a published author of poetry.

Her daughter tells 19 News writing poetry enabled her mom to express herself and be creative. She had plans to write another book of poems, according to her daughter.

“It’s hard, it’s definitely hard. I woke up this morning and I wanted to call my mom, but, I will get through it, I’m strong, I know I’m going to be fine in due time. My mom was loved by so many people. So, I’m just happy to see everybody share the memories of her with good things to say. It just means a lot to me that she was able to touch that many people with me calling her everyday. But, she was there for my sister and others. It really shows what an amazing woman that she was,” Calloway said.

Neighbors who live across the street from the auto parts store say they heard 6 gunshots, and one bullet hit their home and it actually became lodged in their freezer.

A resident of that home was sitting just feet away from where the bullet flew into their kitchen.

19 News has reached out to the Ashtabula City Police Chief to find out the identity of the suspect arrested a short time after the deadly shooting.

It’s unclear at this time if criminal charges have officially been filed against the man, and if he remains in jail.

Another man was also shot and seriously injured on Friday, he was taken to an Ashtabula hospital, and then flown by helicopter to a hospital in Cleveland.

What’s unclear is why the suspect had a gun in the first place, and why he opened fire on the victims.