Airman shot in face in Akron after surviving tour in Iraq
By Phil Trexler
Beacon Journal staff writer
POSTED: 08:36 p.m. EDT, Sep 23, 2009 The cruel irony
lingers over the Taylor home, punctuated by pictures of a son in uniform adorning the living room.
Vincent Taylor II, a U.S. Air Force airman, survived a tour in Iraq earlier this year.
But when he returned home this week to Akron to celebrate his 23rd birthday, Taylor wound up shot in the face by would-be robbers.
Taylor is recovering at a local hospital. Meanwhile, Akron police detectives are seeking the public's help in apprehending the two robbers.
The airman's parents, Vince and Nellie Taylor of Akron, paused from their vigil with their son to meet with reporters Wednesday. They said the family's faith will carry them.
The war in Iraq, they said, pales in some ways to the war on the streets of Akron, where assaults are escalating in record numbers and their son is the latest casualty.
''There's a war right here, a war right here in this city that we must attend to, that we need to do something about,'' Nellie Taylor said.
''You know when he's in Iraq, you know who he's fighting against and he has his brothers to help him,'' she said. ''But when you're here in this war, you don't know exactly who you're fighting against, and there's no cause to do what people are doing, which is killing.''
Vincent Taylor, a Central-Hower High School graduate, entered the military about 18 months ago. His goal, his parents said, was to find direction in his life by escaping the streets of Akron and the crime that comes with the territory.
''He knew what was going on here wasn't what he really wanted,'' his mother said.
The airman served his tour in Iraq, providing security protection from January to July. He came home to Akron briefly this summer and returned to Moody Air Force base in Valdosta, Ga.
On Saturday, he drove to Akron to be with family. He turned 23 on Monday.
Early Wednesday morning, Taylor and his brother, Preston Harris, 30, went to Whispers Night Club on East South Street.
As they were leaving, about 2:20 a.m., two males, apparently teenagers, engaged the brothers in conversation.
Taylor walked to his 2003 Cadillac DeVille and got into the passenger seat. His brother got behind the wheel. The males continued to follow and talk and eventually made robbery demands.
One of the males pulled a gun and put it inside the passenger window. The brothers were trying to drive away when Taylor was shot just below his right eye.
Taylor fell into his brother's lap as the two sped toward a hospital. His condition is serious but stable, his parents said.
Nellie and Vince Taylor say they have already forgiven their son's assailants. They are praying for those men as well as their son.
''I pray for them, too. I forgive them, yet there's consequences for everything you do,'' Vince Taylor said. ''They must pay the consequences. We pray that they turn their lives [around] and become better persons. Because there's just too much of this going on here. Too much.''
The suspects are described as two black males in their late teens. Each stands about 5-feet-7 and weighs about 145 pounds. They were wearing black skullcaps and black hooded sweatshirts.
The suspects drove a late 1990s gray Pontiac Bonneville with four doors and missing hubcaps.
Anyone with information is asked to call Akron police detectives at 330-375-2490. Anonymous tips can be made at City of Akron Police Division Anonymous Tips