CAIRO, Ill. -- The person who was shot to death early Saturday morning at the McBride Place housing complex in Cairo, Ill., was the victim of an attempted robbery before he died, a mother of the shooting victim's children said Monday.
While no details have come yet from police, -- only confirmation of the shooting -- a woman close to the victim Monday said witnesses were telling her that the homicide erupted over a game of dice.
Jeannifer Giden, 24, who lived at McBride Place with the victim, Everett Timothy Rice Jr., 25, said a dice game had been in progress on a sidewalk that runs between housing units late Friday night. Witnesses told Giden, she said, that Rice had been consistently winning during the game, which by midnight had allegedly upset other players to the point that they wanted to rob him of his winnings.
"This was all over a dice game," Giden said. "Tim was winning, and they tried to rob him. Then it escalated into the shooting. Tim died right there on the sidewalk."
Giden, who has two sons with Rice, said she was not present when the fatal shooting occurred, but she said she heard several gunshots outside her apartment a little after midnight. She also has her suspicions as to the identities of Rice's assailants, although no arrests had been made at the time of her interview Monday.
"I know Tim had a history with one of the other players," she said. "I've got a good idea of what happened and who all did it."
Rice, originally from Chicago had also lived in Mounds, Ill., before settling in Cairo in late 2009, Giden said. His body will be taken to Chicago later this week for cremation and for a funeral service.
Giden said she will be making the trip to Chicago for his service.
"My oldest son is in Chicago now," she said. "He's taking it hard, not like my youngest who doesn't really know what's happening."
According to Giden, Rice was a man who didn't cause trouble.
"Tim was a cool guy," she said. "People liked being around him. He was no troublemaker."
Rice's death is the fourth shooting-related death in Cairo since 2010. In that year, the deaths of two women, Beatrice Barber, 29, and Eva Hill, 27, were determined to have been caused by gunshot wounds after their bodies were found in the aftermath of a Cairo house fire. In 2011, Melvin Hadley, 28, was sentenced to up to five years in prison on a manslaughter charge that had been reduced from second-degree murder for the shooting death of Jeserick Pilgram outside a Cairo nightclub. Hadley had also wounded another man during the incident.
Lanesha West, 24, also a resident of McBride Place, said the Cairo police arrived at the scene of Rice's shooting as quickly as they could have.
"There's gunshots around here all the time," she said. "I'd like to think they're doing the best the can. They do all they can with what they have."
Repeated attempts to get information on the case from the Cairo Police Department and the Alexander County coroner were unsuccessful Monday. Anyone with information concerning the crime is asked to contact the Cairo Police Department at 618-734-2131.
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