AKRON, Ohio — Rebecca Wilcox said she’ll always remember Nikki Rollins as selfless. For years, their kids played together on the Portage Lakes Girls Fastpitch League.
“There were so many kids that would come up to the concession stand without any money and she would make sure that every kid got treated equally,” said Wilcox. “She was an amazing person.”
Rollins had three kids of her own, but she was like a mother to many more in Portage Lakes.
“Nikki and her oldest daughter helped take care of my youngest for almost the first year and a half of her life,” said one of her best friends, Sarah Somerville.
For Somerville, the news of her death is still hard to fully grasp. She said it hurts the most during mundane moments in the day.
“My youngest, we’re trying to potty train her. I was excited that she went on the potty and I couldn’t call and tell her, or that I registered her for preschool the other day and I couldn’t call and tell her. It’s just stuff like that,” she said.
According to Akron police, on Feb. 17 around 8 p.m., Rollins drove to a friend’s house on the 800 block of Boulevard Street near downtown. She was in her car alone when she was shot multiple times.
“It sounded like four (gunshots) but it could be more,” said Det. Ron Garey with the Akron Police Department.
Her killer has still not been caught.
Garey said they have some suspects in mind and are actively working to piece together the puzzle, but need the public’s help.
“There are other witnesses that have called in with third-party information saying other people know what’s going on or why she died,” he said. “We do know that there are witnesses out there if they would just come forward.”
Garey is asking anyone who knows anything about Rollins’ death to come forward.
“Please help us solve this crime. Nicole didn’t need to die,” he said. “We want to help the family get some closure and just get some justice.”
If you know anything you’re asked to call the Akron Police Detective Bureau at 330-375-2490 or Summit County Crimestoppers at 330-434-2677. You can report anonymously.
Her friends are hopeful the family will get the answers they need soon.
“It’s so important for anyone that has any information on this case to come forward,” said Wilcox. “To give the family closure they need this, the kids deserve this, the husband deserves this, our community deserves this. That’s the least someone can do, is just come forward.”
As her loved ones wait for the slow wheels of justice to turn, they’re doing what they can to honor her life. Wilcox is hosting a benefit in her name on March 21 at Lala’s Restaurant at 4315 Manchester Road from 12-4 p.m.
All benefits go to the Rollins’ family.
“This is such a close-knit community and when one hurts we all hurt,” said Wilcox. “She’s always given back to the community and we want to give something back, in her name, to her family.”
There are no tickets needed for the event and if you can’t attend but want to help, donations will be accepted for drop-off at LaLa’s Restaurant on March 21.