By Katerina Valdivieso
Otis “Junior” Edmonds was a man of exacting routines.
Every morning he rose at 5, walked out of his house, went to the Classon Grocery on the corner of Prospect Place, bought his newspaper and his scratch-off lottery tickets, got in his car and read the newspaper before heading to work.
Except for yesterday when Edmond, 63, was shot in the head as sat behind the wheel of his burgundy Mazda 626, reading his paper.
The police say that his assailant, who approached on foot, fled the scene, and remains at large.
Meanwhile, Edmonds’ friends and relatives, gathered today to talk about the man they knew as the neighborhood loan shark.
“He didn’t have much to loan but what he had he would give and made a few dollars out of it,” said his sister-in-law, Maryellen Sullivan.
Edmonds had lived in this neighborhood for decades. Those who knew describe as a kind man, quiet and “cool.” He was also a recovering heroin addict and he had been clean for about 20 years, said his brother William. He went to daily meetings of recovering addicts.
“He was always helping people at anytime,” says Donell Lee, the superintendent of a building down the street and a close friend of the Edmonds’ family. He added, however, that he didn’t know much about Edmonds’ business. Another neighbor, who asked to be identified only as Kevin, said Edmonds would lend you money anytime you needed it.
“Whatever he had in his pocket,” he said.
The Edmonds family knows of no enemies he might have had.
“I saw him the morning before,” said Sheiab Ihmed, the cashier at Classon Grocery where Edmonds bought his newspapers and his Newport cigarettes. “A good man, no problem with nobody. Always walked with his son, always cool with everybody.”
Edmonds lived with and cared for his mother, who died last month. Phillipa Thompson, a neighbor who knew him eight years, said Edmonds kept the building impeccably clean.
“His smile lit up his face,” said Thompson. “When he walked in the building and he wouldn’t leave two leaves on the floor.”