On Thursday, Riptide finds Roosevelt Ivory, Sr. stepping out of a white Lincoln Navigator, accompanied by an apparent bodyguard, at his two-house compound on Northwest 69th Terrace in Liberty City. It's advertised as "Roosevelt's Rooming House" in the White Pages, but this certainly is no Days Inn. A burly, dreadlocked guard sits in front of a heavy metal front door, and all of the windows are grated and sealed. The 6-foot-4-or-so Ivory, who's 63 but looks ten years younger, wears a red shirt that matches his loafers, and he's heavily bejeweled.
Two days ago, his son, 41-year old Roosevelt, Jr. was gunned down five blocks away. "I hear street talk that it was a mistaken identity," says Ivory coolly. "It's funny, because we was just having a discussion a couple of days before about how crazy these streets are."
Ivory, Sr. is a former boxing promoter who once owned Miami Beach boxing haven The 5th Street Gym, training home to Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson, Rocky Marciano, Sonny Liston, and Mike Tyson. Says Ivory: "Junior worked right along with me."
In 2004, the gym closed for good, and his son joined him in the other family business: construction. But while Ivory, Sr. insists his son had no enemies and "was never involved in anything serious enough to get him murdered", a glance at both of their rap sheets reveals another like-father-like-son similarity: they both are prolific at being charged with, and acquitted of, wheelbarrows full of felonies.
From 1974 through 2002, the elder Ivory has been charged with carrying
a sawed-off weapon, cocaine possession, felony weed possession,
battery, and assault. He's managed to avoid a felony conviction every
time. His slain son's rap sheet was even more impressive: two charges
of cocaine possession, two illegal weapons charges, aggravated assault,
armed robbery, weed dealing, and attempted first-degree murder. That's
eight felonies, and he was convicted of only one: a 2001 cocaine
possession charge, for which he was sentenced to one day. The Ivorys must have a good lawyer.
But on Tuesday night, Roosevelt, Jr.'s luck ran out. Miami-Dade Police
haven't released any details about the murder, but Dad says the
shooting took place on NE 63rd Street and 18th Avenue, near the heart
of bullet-torn Liberty City. "I got a phone call from somebody on the
street, saying, 'Your son just got shot,'" says Ivory, Sr. "My first
thought was, Well, okay, they said shot, not killed. He's going to be okay.
But I was extremely shocked. My men had to help me get out of the
house, because I was running around in circles trying to find my keys."
He's not exactly bouyant with confidence that the cops will find his
son's killers: "They say surveillance videos with clear pictures of the
shooters, but people in the street be too afraid to come forward. I'm
going to leave it to [the police]. I'm going to hope they handle this."
Before departing, Riptide asks to snap his photo. Ivory, Sr. declines.
"If people read this and think I'm talking about getting revenge or
some such," he explains, "my smiling photo will be a target."
UPDATE: Miami-Dade Police has sent us the following alert about the murder:
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