DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — It’s been nearly eight years since someone murdered a beloved ice cream man on a hot summer day in Dayton. His killer has never been caught, but family and police refuse to let the case go cold.
“When summer came, we knew dad was going to be doing ice cream,” says Carl Banks’ daughter, April Mosley.
But little did April know, the way 60-year-old Carl Banks lived his life would be the same way he’d die.
“I never imagined losing my dad,” cries April.
Carl Banks spent the summer of 2011 like he always did — selling ice cream.
“It was Carl’s dream. That’s all he dreamed about, ever since he was — God — a little feller. Started out with a push-cart, you know,” says Carl’s younger brother Andy Banks.
Carl was driving on Midway Avenue near the Whitmore Arms apartments on July 12, 2011. Minutes after some kids bought some ice cream from him, a teen walked up to his ice cream truck.
“According to some witnesses, said something to the effect of ‘gimme some ice cream old man,’ and begins to cuss at him,” describes Dayton Police Major Brian Johns, head of the Violent Crimes Bureau.
The teen shot Carl and ran as the ice cream truck veered off the road and crashed into a home. Carl was dead.
“Just a senseless killing you know?” says Andy.
All Carl had on him that day was $200.
“Two hundred dollars and I lost my dad over it,” says April in disbelief. “And they didn’t even get it. He still had it. The coroner gave it back to us.”
“We don’t really know why he was shot — if it was some sort of robbery went bad,” states Major Johns.
Carl’s longtime neighborhood friend, Chuck DeWitt has his own theory.
“It was initiation to a gang,” hypothesizes Chuck.
Carl often drove on Dayton’s west side.
“We went over to DeSoto Bass. And I mean, that’s the areas that we went to,” says Chuck.
“We tried for years to get dad to stop,” admits April.
“I tried my best to get him not to sell ice cream there. I wanted him to go to the fairs and stuff like that,” recalls Andy.
Carl lived his life not just serving up ice cream but serving others.
“If a kid come up and he didn’t have any money, everybody else got ice cream, Carl would ask him you know ‘would you like an ice cream?’ And the kid would say ‘I don’t have the money. I don’t have no money.’ And he says ‘that’s okay.’ And he’d give them ice cream,” recalls Chuck.
Police never caught Carl’s killer, but have a vague description of the suspect who would now be in his 20’s.
“He was wearing red pants. He had a dark-colored, possibly a black or dark brown cardigan-type sweater that they uh, witnesses advised he actually had on his head — not so much to cover his head, but almost like to absorb the sweat,” describes Major Johns.
Once a suspect is caught, Carl’s friends and family members have their own ideas of justice.
“I’m a firm believer in an eye for an eye,” admits Chuck.
“I just want them to know what they’ve done — the damage they’ve done to my family,” says April.
If you have any information that could help bring closure to Carl’s family, call Crime Stoppers at 937-222-STOP or 937-222-7867. Your tip can be anonymous and you could even earn a cash reward.