Detroit, EastpointeJuly 11, 2013
Family of slain Eastpointe man pleads for answers
By Sara Kandel
C & G Staff Writer
During a Crime Stoppers press conference in Detroit June 11, the family of an Eastpointe man made a public plea for information about his killing.
Eric Spires was found shot to death in a vacant field in the 4900 block of 35th Street, near Dexter and Livernois, just south of I-94 on Detroit’s west side, on Father’s Day weekend at 1 a.m. June 15. The Spires family and Detroit police are searching for answers surrounding the 55-year-old single father’s death.
They last spoke to Spires June 14 when he told them he was on his way to a block party that a friend invited him to on 35th Street.
One by one, five family members came forward to ask the public for information. With each one, the image of a fun-loving and caring family man became clearer.
“I loved my dad,” said Spires’ 11-year-old daughter, Persis Spires. “He’d always be there for me. Every day, when he picked me up from school, he’d always be there for me. He was always laughing. He’d be like, ‘Boo Boo, how was your day?’ And I’d be like, ‘It was good.’
“He always called me ‘Boo Boo.’ My dad was a good father and he always was looking out for someone. I really love my Dad and I just want my Dad back.”
A sports fan, business owner and avid poker player, the core of Spires’ world was his three daughters and three grandchildren.
“He bragged about his girls, how fond he was of his girls and his grandchildren,” Spires’ mother, Annie Spires, said. “Whomever took his life took away a wonderful, giving, loving son, father, grandfather, friend and brother.”
With a tear-ridden face and a choked up voice, Annie Spires urged someone to come forward with information about who murdered her son, whom she, as well as friends and loved ones, affectionately referred to as Gator.
“He acquired the name ‘Gator’ when he was 12 years old playing baseball in the neighborhood, and the kids named him ‘Gator’ after Gates Brown, who played for the Detroit Tigers,” Annie Spires said.
Spires was an athlete and a fan and he shared his passion with those in need, supporting neighborhood kids who could not afford to purchase their own sporting goods, his family said.
“You took my granddad,” said 12-year-old Romeo Spires. “He was a great man. He took care of all his family, all of his friends. … Most of the times he’d be helping his daughters or my grandma repair something. He would brush my hair, like, really hard, almost giving me a noogie. He would, like, flip me and my brother over his shoulders and lug us and tug us around. … He brought joy into a home.
“I would like to know what he did to you to make you do this to him. If you were brave enough to kill him, why aren’t you brave enough to speak up and serve the time for the bad things you did? We just want justice for what you have done to our dad, granddad, brother and best friend.”
Justice was the theme of several family members’ remarks.
“You all took away one of my best friends,” said Spires’ 29-year-old daughter, Erica Spires. “He will never pull back up to my house the wrong way trying to convince me to go to church again. Oh God, one phone call would help ease a lot of our pain; just help us.”
“We just want justice right now,” said Spires’ 22-year-old daughter, Angel. “You all took away someone very special to me. I just want the public to speak up because somebody was there. Somebody knows something. My dad was my heart and I’ll never see him again and you guys took him from us the day before Father’s Day.”
Crime Stoppers is offering a $2,500 reward for information that leads to the arrest of whoever killed Eric Spires. If the information is received by midnight July 11, Crime Stoppers will add an extra $1,000 to the reward, for a total reward of $3,500.
Tips can be made and rewards can be paid out anonymously. Anyone with information regarding the June 15 killing of Spires is urged to contact Crime Stoppers at (800) 773-2587 or www.1800speakup.org.