Mother recalls New Year’s murder

Published 9:26 pm Friday, December 30, 2011

Irma Bank still carries with her a picture of her son, Kevin Stallworth, who was killed on Dec. 21, 2010, while working as a security guard at the now closed 12th Stone club. -- Tim Reeves

A year ago tonight, Irma Bank sat on the sidewalk in front of 12th Stone on Water Avenue, clutching her son as he took his last breaths, bleeding from a gunshot wound to his chest.

Her son, 29-year-old Kevin Stallworth, had been trying to break up what local officials called “a domestic dispute.” But Bank said Stallworth, who was a security guard at the club, was shot doing what he felt was right.

“Knowing him, he would have done it again,” Bank said. “He was doing his job. He was trying to help. And he did it and saved someone’s life in the process.”

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On the first anniversary of her son’s death, Bank relived that night — something she does every day — and still cannot believe her “angel, my saint” is gone.

“My baby died in my arms, right there on that cold, wet ground,” Bank said, describing how she held him until paramedics arrived. “He saved someone’s life and he saved my life.”

Bank said she was at the club that night to meet her son and was outside when the so-called domestic dispute began between Roland Cooper and Alice West. “We heard someone scream and we went around the corner and that is when I saw (Cooper) holding the gun to her head, safety off,” Bank said. “That’s when Kevin came around and shielded me away, saving my life.

“Kevin got in between them and looked that guy dead into the eye and said ‘man, she ain’t worth it.’ That’s the last words my son said before ‘pow,’ One shot. That guy  didn’t hesitate,” Bank said. “He shot him. He shot him right in the chest.”

Bank said officials told her the bullet entered Stallworth’s chest, ricocheted off his spine and then pierced his heart. He died moments later.

“I looked up at (Cooper) and told him he better crawl back up into his mother’s womb, because ‘I am going to kill you myself for killing my child,’” Bank said. “And I meant what I said.”

Cooper was later found, arrested and charged with Stallworth’s murder. He pled guilty to murder charges earlier this month and was sentenced to 31 years in prison, a sentence Bank doesn’t feel is long enough.

“I still felt it wasn’t enough time,” she said. “After 15 years he gets to come up for parole and he will not get it if I have anything to do with it.”

Bank, a mother of four, said she wakes up every morning, reliving the events of that night and losing her only son.

“I live it every morning I wake up. I dream about it a lot,” Bank said. “My son is sorely missed because he was a decent young man.

“His ashes are right at my home. With me,” she said. “That was his wish was to come back home.”

Today, Bank says she looks back at her son’s life, remembering things he said, things he wanted to do.

“He told me before he died that he had found the one and wanted to get married before he turned 30,” Bank said. “He had told me his plans, but never told the young lady he wanted to marry.”

She also remembers how Kevin wanted to handle and live his life.

“I thought he was joking when he was 8 years old and he told me ‘momma, I’m going to model my life after Martin Luther King Jr.,’” she remembers. “He said ‘I’m going to make sure that any confrontation I come up on, I’m going to walk away.

“He didn’t walk away last year,” she said. “But he did save two lives in the process.”

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