‘No motive’: Daughter of woman shot, killed said her mother was in wrong place at wrong time

Rihana Gilbert died when a gunman opened fire Friday afternoon in front of an auto parts store.
Published: May. 7, 2023 at 3:22 PM EDT
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ASHTABULA, Ohio (WOIO/Gray News) - The daughter of a woman who was shot and killed outside of an Ohio auto parts store Friday said her mother was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Rihana Gilbert died when a gunman opened fire in the middle of the afternoon.

Calloway police said they have not been able to provide Gilbert’s family with many details about the suspect or the motives behind the shooting.

Gilbert’s daughter, Ta’la Calloway, told WOIO her mother did nothing to deserve being shot.

“It was a random shooting, no motive, nothing like that,” Calloway said. “My mom, she was just a good person who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

When the shooting took place, Calloway said she had been getting calls asking if her mother was OK.

“I wasn’t even really sure what was going on yet,” she said. “I then found out that she got shot and was dead already. I don’t even think she ever made it to the hospital. I think she was pronounced dead at the scene. My mom didn’t deserve this and the man with the gun deserves to pay for what happened. I will fight for justice for my mom and she has a large group of friends and loved ones in the community who will fight to get justice for her.”

Gilbert’s daughter says her mom was born and raised in Ashtabula and had just moved back a few months ago.

Gilbert was a mother of two, as well as a grandmother, business owner, a published poet and a fiancee.

Calloway said her mother expressed herself and her creativity through poetry and had plans to write a second book of poems.

“It’s hard, it’s definitely hard. I woke up this morning and I wanted to call my mom, but, I will get through it, I’m strong, I know I’m going to be fine in due time,” Calloway said. “My mom was loved by so many people. So, I’m just happy to see everybody share the memories of her with good things to say. It just means a lot to me that she was able to touch that many people with me calling her everyday. But she was there for my sister and others. It really shows what an amazing woman that she was.”

Residents who live across the street from the auto parts store said they heard six gunshots. One bullet hit one of their houses and became lodged in their freezer. A resident of that home was sitting just feet away from where the bullet flew into their kitchen.

WOIO reached out to the Ashtabula Police Department to learn the identity of the suspect that was arrested shortly after the deadly shooting.

It’s unclear at this time if criminal charges have officially been filed against the man, and if he remains in jail.

Another man was also shot and seriously injured on Friday. He was taken to an Ashtabula hospital, and then flown by helicopter to a hospital in Cleveland.