Friends remember Lexington’s latest homicide victim
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)
Family and friends remembered 53-year-old Robert Wallace Jr., “Bobbi” to friends and family, who was stabbed to death over the weekend in what was Lexington’s 38th homicide of the year. That surpasses last year’s total and is now the most ever in the city.
“Bobbi, he was kind of like the life of the party,” says Chynna Lee, friend and music partner of Wallace.
Wallace was loved by many as seen by the outpouring of messages on his social media. Lee says Wallace was one of Kentucky’s first black opera singers and gave voice lessons to kids for free.
“Whether, you know, it was music or not, he was always trying to do something to not only better himself, but better the community that he was a part of, as well,” says Lee.
The coroner’s office says Wallace was found dead in his apartment just after 12:30 A.M. Saturday. Lexington police is still investigating.
“You could just about turn on any news channel, any social media platform, and hear something about something going on,” says Lee. “So for it to hit close to home, you know, and especially being such a great friend of mine is, it was just, it was just terrible, just to hear about that.”
Some community-based organizations in the city, like BUILD, are frustrated there’s been a record number of homicides in Lexington this year but not surprised.
“It’s really disheartening. Unfortunately, it was kind of inevitable, we knew it was going to happen, that we would break this record,” says Bryna Reed, a BUILD volunteer. “It’s really frustrating because we know that there are ways that this could have been prevented.”
BUILD calls for solutions like group-violence intervention or GVI, used in cities like Chicago and Boston to help in crime reduction and prevention. The city addressed the call for GVI at a safety forum Monday, saying the research and evidence used for the program wouldn’t apply to post-COVID life where the number of guns on the street and domestic violence is on the rise.
One Lexington director Devine Carama says in 2021 only a couple of the city’s homicides were domestic violence related, but this year it’s been around one-third of the homicides.
“It makes my heart heavy. This is my city. I felt the same way I felt during the pandemic when we lost so many people. This is kind of a pandemic in its own right,” says Carama. “I’m not as concerned about the image [of the city], I’m more concerned and worried about those being impacted by gun violence because my job is to constantly talk, provide services for those individuals. So but I do respect and understand that the image of our city is important. But for me, I’m more worried about those that are being impacted.”
Robert Wallace Jr. has been identified as the victim of the city’s 38th homicide.
Wallace, 53, died from multiple sharp force injuries, according to the Fayette County Coroner’s Office.
Lexington has now set a new homicide record after a man was stabbed to death Friday night.
Police say they responded just before midnight to the 1000 block of Bryan Avenue to an unresponsive man. When they arrived they found a man with stab wounds.
The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. His name has not yet been released.
Anyone with information that could help investigators is asked to call Lexington Police or Bluegrass Crimestoppers.