The shooting death of a Harper Woods school official has left a family and school community reeling, unable to comprehend why someone would take the life of a person known for keeping kids on the right track, counseling them through grief and expressing love on Facebook.
Kelvin Wheeler Jr., 34, a father, youth pastor and dean of students at Triumph Middle School in Harper Woods,
was fatally gunned down on July 8 while stopped at a red light in Detroit.
According to a preliminary Detroit police report, the killing happened at 11:40 p.m. on the 13900 block of Livernois. Wheeler, who also owned and operated numerous properties across metro Detroit, was traveling north on Livernois in a white 2019 Jeep Cherokee when he stopped at a red light. An unknown male suspect allegedly approached the Jeep on foot and fired several shots in the front windshield, striking Wheeler multiple times. The suspect then entered an older model grey Sedan and fled northbound on Livernois Ave.
Medics arrived and pronounced Wheeler dead at the scene.
No arrests have been made. The investigation is ongoing.
“I raised a beautiful man.
He loved everyone,” Wheeler’s mother, Rose Anderson, said through tears. “I want the world to know that Kelvin Wheeler is soaring right now … The love I instilled in my son growing up, he took that and carried it up until the day some coward took his life.”
Anderson is especially heartbroken for her 8-year-old grandson, Kelvin III, who lost his father.
“He asked me, ‘Who is going to take me to basketball or football practice? Who is going to pray with me?’ And those words – I can’t even answer,” Anderson said. ” I tell him, ‘I don’t know baby. I don’t know. But it’s going to be okay because you have your Grandma, your Mama, your Aunties.”
Anderson struggled to speak through the tears.
“It’s hard. It’s so hard … it’s the most pain I have ever felt in my whole life,”
Anderson, said, pleading:
“Lord help me.”
Among the many shaken by Wheeler’s death is Eric Pate, 56, of Detroit, a Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity brother of Wheeler.
“This was senseless. He didn’t deserve to die like that – and that’s happening too often in Detroit,” said “When a guy like Kelvin,
who is the pillar of your community doesn’t reach 35, and is a father
… that affects the Black community. This was a good brother. And his killer needs to be brought to justice.”
To date, the police have made no arrests.
“I’m just kind of dumbfounded by it all,” Pate said.
Pate described Wheeler as the “consummate” Kappa Alpha Psi member, noting he helped build the fraternity’s chapter at U-M Dearborn during his college years there.
“To be in a Black male fraternity on a predominantly white campus is difficult. It takes a lot. But Kelvin, who was an older college student, did that,” Pate said. “He epitomized what we stood for, which is achievement. ”
As news of Wheeler’s death spread, friends, family and school parents took to Facebook to grieve and offer words of praise.
“Throughout the last few years, you were one of the only people that could reach (my daughter) and help her stay out of trouble and keep her on track with her grades and her attitude,” wrote one school parent. “She really looked up to you and had mad respect for you. We all will truly miss you.”
The parent added: “I thank you so much for all the help you gave my daughter through her middle school years. You are one of the reasons that she’s in high school now and I thank you truly. ”
Another friend wrote: “You made such an impact in so many ways in so many peoples lives.”
Harper Woods school officials announced Wheeler’s death in a staffwide email last week:
“It is with extreme sorrow and heaviness of heart that I share this communication to inform you of the passing of Mr. Kelvin Wheeler … Mr. Kelvin Wheeler served our
school and district family with dignity and distinction, enjoying the respect and admiration of parents, peers and students for the selfless time and energy he invested to contribute towards the success of each child. The light of his love will never be extinguished from our hearts. ”
The email …