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Cold case: Who killed Sylvania Township drummer Darryl Stipes in 2012? | 11 Investigates

The murder is still unsolved nearly 10 years after he was shot four times outside his home.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Darryl Stipes was a popular drummer, known throughout Toledo's music scene for decades.

But his music was silenced on June 21, 2012, when he was shot four times in front of his Waldmar Avenue home in Sylvania Township.

He lived long enough to call for help himself.

"He was the 911 caller," said Detective Sergeant Lee McKinney of the Sylvania Township Police Department. "He called and said that he'd been shot."

J. Mykol grew up with Stipes in the Old South End.

"When you kill a musician like that and murder 'em, it affects more than just his immediate family and those around him," he said. "It affects people who heard his music and heard him play and how it affected their heart and soul over time, you don't forget that. When you hear a band play your favorite song and do it very well, that stays with you. So there's many, many people in this town that remember Darryl."

Credit: WTOL 11

Darryl told the 911 dispatcher two men shot him - one Black and one white. Both were wearing hoodies.

 Here is a portion of the transcript of the 911 call:


"I've been shot four times."

"What's your name?"

"Darryl Stipes."

"Darryl, what's going on there?"

"I've been robbed. Four shots. I'm dying."

"You've been shot?"


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Credit: WTOL 11

Darryl died about a half hour later at Toledo Hospital.

"Every time I hear a Carlos Santana song or different songs, he'll pop right in my head like it was yesterday," Mykol said.

Mykol talked to WTOL 11 at Levis Square in downtown Toledo, one of many places where he and Darryl used to play around town.

"We'd do weekend all day bands, we'd set up different bands, let 'em play for an hour and then change 'em out," he said. "Every little corner you could get a gig in, that's where you played at, that's what you still do today."

Mykol tells WTOL 11 Stipes had some pretty serious health issues at the time of his death and was in dire financial straits, so he sold some of his prescription pills to keep up.

"He was on some heavy duty pain medication and he was also broke, so the price of those pills got him by a little bit, selling them off," Mykol said. "It was his own medication and it was totally misrepresented as him being a drug dealer. That was not the case at all, although I'm not painting him as an angel or that he's never done anything wrong." 

Mykol says Stipes was very particular about who came to his house and believes he knew at least one of his killers.

"If he didn't know you, he didn't want you coming to his front door," Mykol said. "And I know that he knew the one guy and the guy he brought with him I believe is who did the shooting, but he didn't know who he was."

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McKinney recalled the events of that June 2012 night.

"I was actually a road officer and it came in just at the end of the shift," he said.

McKinney was one of the first on the scene when Stipes was shot and leads the investigation today. He says there's no evidence Stipes was trying to sell pills the night he was killed or that he was dishonestly filling prescriptions.

 "It was looked into some, but nothing that really panned out from there," McKinney said. "If he was doing it, it wasn't anything he was doing with great consistency."

The pill theory hasn't led to anything concrete, but police do agree, back then and today, Stipes was targeted.

"I can say with 100% certainty, tell people it wasn't random, that he was a selected target," former Deputy Chief Ray Carroll told WTOL 11 in 2012.

McKinney agrees it was not a random act.

Stipes' description of the two men does seem to check out with people on the street.

 "That's also what some of the neighbors had seen - two males who were standing at the edge of the property," McKinney said.

However that does not mesh with another lead police followed at the time of the killing - a fight in a pizza shop parking lot.

Stipes filed a police report the previous year, saying he bumped into Frank DeMarco's car in the lot.

Credit: WTOL 11

Stipes told police DeMarco shoved his car door, hitting him in the face. He filed a civil suit against DeMarco just a month before the shooting.

"No connection," said McKinney.  "I know they looked into it, but nothing that brought back the result by actually wanting to cause harm to him."

"He was the best friend anybody could have," Josh Boyd told WTOL 11 just after Darryl's death. "He'd do anything for you. Greatest person. My best friend.''

Darryl drummed for Josh Boyd and the VIP Band for about 20 years before his death.

They jammed around Toledo four days a week, Thursdays through Sundays, including at the Polish Ostrich where Boyd recently met up with 11 Investigates.

Credit: WTOL 11

"Darryl came to my show and we became best friends ever since and he was my drummer for a long time and best friend, you know, my brother," Boyd said. "I love him a lot."

His murder left a deep hole in the band and not knowing who killed him haunts Boyd to this day.

 "I hope they find the person that did it," he said. "My friend's been dead for nine and a half years and nothing's been said. Hopefully they get the investigation closed."

McKinney said it's been a frustrating investigation. 

"We don't like any case we can't solve, especially when it's somebody's life that's been taken," McKinney said. "We went back through the evidence a few months back, even talked to BCI again and they reprocessed some things trying to find some DNA and we didn't have any luck finding DNA off of the things we had taken, which is really strange." 

"The guy that did it, or both the guys were involved that did it, get what they deserve. They shouldn't be out here walking around," Mykol said. "I'm sure the people that do know, I'm sure they're scared, but it's been long enough now that they should step forward." 

If you know anything about the murder of Darryl Stipes, call Detective Sergeant McKinney at (419) 882-2055.

Credit: WTOL 11