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Family remembers robbery-murder victim with basketball tournament

MADISONVILLE, Ohio (Angela Ingram) -- Nearly a year after a man was robbed and killed at a gas station his family put together an event in his memory.
Police arrested four men for gunning down Rodney Smith in Madisonville last July.   
Rodney's mother, Lashawnda Smith, said, "It's been a very painful year for me.  I'm just now getting back into the grove of things.  I'm trying to do things day by day."
2014 has been a year of change for Lashawnda.  She's learned to get along without her son, testified in front of city council to get more police on the streets and she has prepared for a basketball tournament to give young people in the city something positive to do.

"My goal is to keep his name alive and to let him know that it's more things to do in the city besides shoot.  We can shoot hoops," she said.

Ebonie Smith, Rodney's Aunt, said, "This is just to basically honor my nephew.  We love and miss him.  It'll be a year on Sunday so if somebody could just help us, anything works, anything helps."
The tournament will be played on Sunday, July 6.  It will be the one year anniversary of Rodney's murder.  Police said four men followed Rodney from a nightclub and robbed him at a gas station in Madisonville.  Officers arrested all four suspects.

His mother told Local 12, "Well, it gives me some peace.  I just thank God that my son's murder was solved because it's a lot of parents out here whose murders haven't been solved.  So I just thank God for that."
The basketball tournament will be at the Madisonville Rec Center, a safe haven for young people.  The family hopes to create something special in Rodney's memory.  The tournament will run from 2p.m. to 6p.m. at the rec center.  The family will be releasing balloons in Rodney's honor after the tournament.

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