CLEVELAND — The longtime girlfriend of one of four people killed in Slavic Village Tuesday is reeling after hearing about the homicides that rocked the neighborhood.
David Cousin, Jr., 35, was found dead in a vacant lot on East 63rd Street with multiple gunshot wounds. Inside a house next to that lot, Takeyra Collins, 25, was also found dead with multiple gunshot wounds. Two children, Armond Johnson, Jr., 6, and Aubree Stone, 2, were found dead inside the house from smoke inhalation. The deaths of all four have been ruled as homicides, according to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office.
As of Wednesday afternoon, there were still no answers as to who was responsible for their deaths. As the investigation continued, most of the crime scene tape had been removed from the scene on East 63rd Street, with the exception of tape strung up around the porch of the house where Collins and the two children were found dead. A sign on the porch asked for people to contact investigators about a possible arson there.
Denneisha Mapp, a longtime friend and girlfriend of David Cousin, said she spent Tuesday night into Wednesday morning in her car outside the crime scene. She said she had texted him just before 10:30 p.m. on Monday, but by the time she got to his apartment a little more than an hour later, Cousin wasn't home.
"I walked to the door to see if the door was open and it wasn’t open," Mapp said. "The lights weren’t on, there was nobody here."
She tried his phone six times with no answer.
"I thought he might’ve went to sleep, cause he just got off of work," Mapp, who has dated Cousin on and off for more than 15 years, said. "He had a long day at work, so, you know, he’s tired. That’s all that I could think what was wrong. To think something like this was happening, I would’ve never, never thought."
Mapp described Cousin as a good person who had overcome mistakes he'd made in the past to turn his life around.
"He loved his family. His family was everything, his friends," Mapp said. "All he wanted, to see his people just do better. That’s all he wanted. He wanted the best for everybody."
Mapp said Cousin worked as a contractor.
"He’d been doing home renovations and construction in homes for some time," Mapp said. "He had the skills so he was developing his own business."
She said Cousin was excited about the business and about taking steps forward.
"He’s a hardworking man," Mapp said. "The fact that things happened in his past kind of shut him out of a lot of things to show his true potential and what he’s capable of doing."
Mapp said on Tuesday morning, after not hearing from Cousin, she received a call from Cousin's niece, asking when she had last talked to him.
"Shocked me a little bit, cause he always answers his niece’s phone calls. His sister, his mother, his cousin, his family," Mapp said. "Anybody that call, he always answered his phone, and for him not to answer, they knew something was wrong."
Mapp later got a call from Cousin's family, telling her four bodies had been discovered on his street. When she got to East 63rd Street, she realized the part of the street blocked off was where her friend lived.
At first, Mapp said, she didn't believe Cousin was one of the people found dead. But when she saw his family there, they told her he had died.
"I was shattered," Mapp said. "David was loved by a lot of people. He really is. He’s really a great person and all he really wanted to do was help people. And he did help people."
Mapp said, to her knowledge, Cousin didn't know his neighbors well and that they hadn't been there long. She said she hoped anyone with information about any of their deaths would come forward.
"Nobody deserves to lose a family member in this manner," Mapp said.
Anyone with information about the crimes is asked to call the Cleveland Police homicide unit at (216) 623-5464 or, to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 25-CRIME.