Sep 17, 2007


The evening breeze blew out the 4-year-old boy’s candle.

Avaun Rucker looked down at it, watching the last puff of smoke come off the white, tapered wax as the wick turned from orange to a brittle black.

He looked up at his father, Anthony Rucker Sr., and the boy, saying nothing, raised up his candle for help.

They stood in front of the Rucker house, 920 Canary Court in Riverdale, on Saturday. They stood with about 50 people, in the street by the mailbox, all of them holding candles in a vigil on the one-year anniversary of 34-year-old Rhonda Rucker’s death.

Anthony Rucker Sr. leaned his lit candle down to his son’s extinguished one, placing his other hand firmly on the boy’s shoulder.

“It’s still hard, without their mother being around,” the older Rucker said. “It’s encouraging to know that she’s still remembered and loved by everyone.”

A year ago, on Sept. 15, 2006, Rhonda and Anthony Rucker Sr. played with their youngest son, Avaun, in the early morning. The father prepared to leave for work, and told his wife he loved her.

“Those were the last words we ever said to each other,” he said Saturday. “We both said we loved each other.”

That afternoon, Rhonda Rucker was shot in the back of the head with a .45-caliber bullet and Avaun was locked in an upstairs closet, with a dresser holding the door closed.

Read the story, Friends, family mourn slain women, hope for justice, @ the Clayton News Daily.