As details emerge around the police shooting death of Jayland Walker, his family continues to seek answers about his slaying at the hands of Akron, Ohio police officers, demanding accountability and calling the 60 gunshot wounds in his body excessive.
Officials say the 25-year-old man was engaged in a high speed chase with police, who claimed to see a flash of light believed to be a gunshot. Police said he drove to a parking lot and ran, but a recently released bodycam video shows an officer opening fire at him, along with others, killing him.
"They want to turn him into a masked monster with a gun. And we knew that,” Walker’s family lawyer, Bobby DiCello, said. But there were aspects to Walker’s life that have not been broadly discussed. Here are five of them:
He Was Grieving The Loss of His Fiancee
Walker’s soon-to-be wife, Jaymeisha Beasley, died in an accident in May and he was believed to have still been affected by her death.
According to Cleveland.com, In the vehicle with Beasley were her sister, Jazzimine, and her mother, Shalesa, as well as Andre Keyes.
At about 1 a.m., Beasley, 27, was riding in a slow-moving van on I-71 near Lebanon. The 2003 Ford E-150 van was hit by a semi-tractor trailer from behind. As Beasley was not wearing a seatbelt, she was thrown onto the road by the impact. As she was down, Beasley was struck and killed by another southbound vehicle that never stopped resulting in a hit-and-run.
State patrol reports that she suffered major injuries as a result. The patrol spokesman told the outlet that no one has been arrested in the case.
Injuries were treated at a nearby hospital soon after the family was taken there.
He Was Also Grieving the Loss Of His Father
Following the death of his fiancee, Walker continued to have a tough time coping with the death of his father, Pete Walker, who passed away in 2018, due to an unspecified medical condition, according to Walker’s wrestling coach, Robert Hubbard.
During Hubbard's time at Buchtel high school, Pete Walker was one of Hubbard's wrestling coaches.
“Jayland took that kind of tough. I know," Hubbard told the Akron Beacon-Journal. "I took it kind of tough since he kind of mentored me as I was growing up."
He Was an Aspiring Pro-Wrestler
The Beacon-Journal reports Walker had previously worked for Amazon and had since taken on a driving job with DoorDash.
But in high school he also ran cross country, played baseball and wrestled, according to Walker’s former Buchtel High School teammates George Johnson and Tyler Cox.
During the 2014 Summit County All-Star game, Walker was a player for the Summit County team. In addition to playing third base, Walker also played the outfield.
“He was just a really funny guy,” Johnson, 26, noted. “I promise he could have been a comedian. I wanted him to be a comedian. That’s not what he wanted to do. He wanted to be a wrestler, like in the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment)."
His Final Moments Described as ‘Out of Character’
Hubbard has known him since he was on Hubbard’s youth team from a very young age.
“He wasn’t what they were describing in those news stories ... no, that’s not the kid I know,” Hubbard told the Beacon-Journal. “I’ve been the coach at Buchtel since 2002. He’s one of the sweetest, most mannerable kids I’ve ever had. If you gave me a list of 100 kids that this would have happened to, he would have been 99th or 100th for me to guess.
Hubbard then explains how the way social media has been describing Walker’s final moments as “out of his character”.
“He was a hard worker. Whatever I asked him to do, he would do,” Hubbard recalled. “I’d be surprised if he ever got a detention in school ... he just wasn’t one of those kids that misbehaved or anything — and I’ve had some of those kids that have tested me. Jayland Walker was not one of those kids.”