CINCINNATI – Macarthur Jackson, 72, and Alma Jean Owens, 57, were next-door neighbors and had known each other for 20 years.
Now their families are in shock and police are looking for a killer after the two were found brutally slain in Jackson's Evanston apartment Thursday night.
Jackson and Owens were stabbed to death, their families said, but police did not confirm that.
Neighbors said they heard arguing and loud noises around 7 p.m., but no one made much of it until four hours later. That's when firefighters were called to make a wellness check at the second-floor apartment on Fairfield Avenue.
They found a gruesome scene. Three doors away, police found a bloody bag. Witnesses said it contained money.
The crime stunned the neighborhood just days after a drive-by shooting down the street wounded five people – including a 3-year-old boy - during an outdoor barbecue.
Jackson and Owens, a mother of two, were good people, family members said.
"I can't understand why anyone would want to do that. Why? Why would you want to do that?" said Jackson's brother, Joseph Jackson. "He was at home not bothering. I can see if he was out on the street somewhere, but he was at home."
"She always been a good person, a sweet person," said Owens' cousin, Johnnie Owens. "She didn't go around starting trouble. She tended to her business. When you see her, she's by herself."
Longtime Evanston resident Peterson Mingo said he knew Jackson for many years. Mingo said he was a “pillar in the community” and generous and good with young people.
“So it's hard to believe he would meet such a violent demise. … He's one of the people the community needs. They need more people who care about the community,” Mingo said.
Jackson’s daughter, Natalie Chapman, said he was an avid gardener and a good father.
“He loved to garden. He [would] do his garden and that's his life. His gardening, fishing, interacting with his children. He has grandchildren,” Chapman said. “He [would] do a lot of reminiscing, so he loved telling us how it was when he was growing up, you know.”
Chapman said her father would feed the hungry and was happy to listen to those in need.
“[For] someone to take his life -- that's kind of rough -- it hurts. It hurts. I'm the oldest out of six, so I have to be strong. I'm his shoulder to cry on, so I have to be strong,” Chapman said.
Jackson's apartment has been sealed off while investigators try to determine a motive.
Mingo, a street ourtreach worker, says he doesn't believe the killings and the drive-by shooting are connected.
Police are still looking for the drive-by gunmen. A police report indicates the shooting was gang-related.
MORE DETAILS: Witness describes barbecue shooting