‘He would forgive her’: Close friend remembers victim of Friday’s hit-and-run, shooting

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A 31-year-old Wichita woman is behind bars following a hit-and-run that turned into a deadly shooting.

Charity Blackmon was booked into the Sedgwick County Jail on suspicion of first-degree murder, failing to signal, amongst other charges.

Police say the investigation revealed Rabus was on his bicycle at the intersection of 13th Street and Oliver when he was struck by a white Plymouth van driven by Blackmon.

Blackmon then got out of her vehicle and fired a shot from a handgun, striking 54-year-old Merrill Rabus. She fled the scene but was eventually arrested.

People who knew the victim are remembering him. The mother of Rabus said she is too emotional to speak at this point but says her son had a light to him.

One of Rabus’s close friends was able to speak and share just how special their friendship was.

“Devastated, devastated,” said Travis Cox, Rabus’s close friend.

Cox never felt so far away from someone he was so close to for 10 years.

“He just made a huge impact on me. I was homeless, also. We had a lot of the same struggles in life, and so then after we came from those struggles, and then, I think we both had a passion to help others. His passion was a little deeper than mine,” said Cox.

Cox said Rabus was an inspiration to him. He said he helped him with his faith and with giving back to people.

“To see the way he loved other people made me want to love people like that, to see the way he cared for other people made me want to care for other people like that,” said Cox.

Kansas Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau said she was there when Rabus was hit.

“It was so sad to see the bottom of his shoes, to see him laying there on the ground motionless, just lifeless. They were trying to pick him up on his feet. His legs were just limp,” said Senator Faust-Goudeau.

Cox said he chooses to remember the life he lives and knows he would have wanted to get to know the person who ended his life.

“He would forgive her, that wouldn’t even be an option for him. He wouldn’t even have a decision to forgive or not. It’s a no-brainer. He just was not that type of a person,” said Cox.

Cox said the family is in the process of planning the service but he does not yet know when that will happen.

If you would like to donate to help pay for funeral expenses click here.

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