GREENSBORO, N.C. — Neighbors knew something was wrong when they had not seen Alvin Nathaniel Blackwell outside his house in several days.
According to the News & Record, Blackwell, 76, was found dead in his home at 1323 Lion Street after officers were called to the house to perform a welfare check about 10 p.m. Friday night.
Someone broke into Blackwell’s home, got into a physical confrontation with him and killed him, police said today.
Blackwell’s neighbor across the street, Afernet Hinson, 75, and her daughter called police after they couldn’t get in touch with him, Hinson said.
Neighbors knew Blackwell as “Mr. Jittybug” or Mr. Jitty, a nickname he had gone by since childhood, said his cousin, Nancy Blackwell Broadnax, 74.
Others in the neighborhood would often see Blackwell outside, keeping his lawn immaculately kept, his statutes of angels and people in pristine condition.
“He never sat still unless golf was on (TV),” said Danziel Sharrock, 24, who lives with Hinson. “He had a set schedule: walking to the store, sweeping the porch, cutting the grass. Sometimes he would even jog down the street. When we didn’t see him take the trash out in a few days, we got concerned.”
The last time neighbors can recall seeing Blackwell is Wednesday, said Dominique Byrd, 22. Byrd lives two streets over, but was often on Lion Street visiting with Blackwell.
“You wouldn’t think he’s 76. There’s not a day you wouldn’t see Mr. Jitty open the door and go outside,” Byrd said. “Wednesday we realized nobody had seen him. I called Danziel to check.”
When friends and family learned police found him dead, they speculated initially it was from natural causes.
I though a heart attack, initially, said Sharrock. “He’d had some stress tests done lately, and he wasn’t carrying quiet as many bags, moving quite as fast.”
When his friends and family learned police were investigating Blackwell’s death as a homicide, they were surprised.
“There wasn’t nothing you couldn’t have asked that man for that he wouldn’t have given you,” Byrd said. “If you didn’t have anything to eat he would give you something from his fridge.”
His friends said he would even occasionally mow the grass at the Divine Holy Temple no. 4 church next door for free.
Saturday afternoon his friends gathered across the street and drank Mr. Jittybug’s favorite beer in honor of him and reminisced on good times, like the big cookout they had for his birthday this May.
“He’s a really good man and everybody loved him,” Sharrock said. “It’s a hard loss for all of us.”
SOURCE: News & Record