Police have suspect in 2013 cold-case murder
Investigators need public’s help to make case
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - In Factfinder 12′s continuing partnership with the Wichita Police Department, each month we’re digging into another cold case. This month, we try to help shed more light on the murder of Lemmie Alford. Killed in the street for no apparent reason, he left behind a daughter and a grieving family, and this cold case is unique in that detectives say they believe they know exactly who is responsible.
Friends say the victim, Lemmie Alford, could be described as a lot of things. Once, a bit shy.
“He was very quiet. He stayed to his self. He had friends that he hung out with but for the most part he stayed to his self,” the mother of Lemmie’s child Michelle Peters said.
Peters said Alford may have started as a quiet type of person when she met him, but as he matured, so did his ability to make friends.
“You could just ride down the street. He’d throw up his hands and people would stop,” Peters said. “He really was just that type of person that you could just be with, hang around with.”
Among the many ways to describe him, Alford would eventually be described as “dad.” The social aspect of his life didn’t change when Peters informed Alford she was pregnant with what turned out to be a little girl. Peters says he was excited. “All in,” she says.
“Once I had his daughter, it was just more fun. He wanted to be with her,” she said. “He was all in, yeah.”
But all those descriptions are now said past tense. Peters says the news of what happened to her one time boyfriend and father of her daughter came as a shock. One for which there is just no way for a person to prepare themselves.
“My mom came in, my aunt and everybody was outside. My mom came in and was like, ‘let me talk to you,’ " she explained. “She was like, ‘Lemmie has been shot...he was pronounced dead’ and immediately I started crying.”
It happened in 2013 in a neighborhood just a few blocks away from the Wichita State campus. Alford and a small group of friends were walking down a street when a vehicle pulled next to them. Police tell Factfinder 12, they believe the vehicle was a Silver Chevrolet Trailblazer. Witnesses tell them the driver called over to Alford, who approached the driver’s side window. Less than a minute later, investigators say the driver opened fire. Alford was hit once in the chest and died.
Detective Dan Harty was assigned to the case and, in a strange twist, was familiar with Alford from a previous case. Years earlier, Alford was injured in a different shooting Det. Harty investigated. Unrelated, but it meant the man investigating the case actually knew the victim. From what Harty knew, Alford wasn’t one to cause much trouble. He did hang with a bit of a tough crowd, but nothing the detective thought would lead to murder.
“That night, I think he(Alford) was looking to just, you know, hang out with some friends, and, you know, unfortunately the wrong time, wrong place probably ultimately led to his death,” Detective Harty said.
In another strange twist for a cold case investigation, Harty says he has a good idea who pulled the trigger. Right now, he says he just needs someone, anyone, to step forward and hold that person accountable.
“Truthfully, anonymous information is good at times, but now I need someone to go the step further. I need them to come forward and tell us about how they know this information,” Harty said. “There is a family out there, there’s kids, there’s a mom, there’s, you know that don’t have the answers that they’re looking for.”
As one of those left behind to grieve, Michelle Peters says it’s time for justice to be done for her daughter’s father, but not just her, but everyone whose life will never be the same now that Lemmie Alford is no longer a part of it.
“His daughter, his mom, his brother, sister. That was a tragic. Nobody was prepared for that. He was here one day and then gone the next,” she said. “It’s hard.”
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