Cedar Rapids sees three homicides in one week - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids sees three homicides in one week

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - When Cedar Rapids police found Clifton Sparks lying on B Ave NE, they tried to save him -- but it was too late. He was unresponsive, with severe injuries to his upper body.

That was around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday -- just after Howard Hootman got home from work.

"11:30 is when I get home every night. I work second shift, said Hootman. "I didn't notice anything pulling into the drive. It was quiet."

Several neighbors tell KWWL they didn't know something had happened on the block until police knocked on their doors.

That's when they say they saw groups of people outside -- including Sparks' friends and family.

We stopped by Sparks' home to speak with them, but they were too upset to go on camera -- especially since no one has been able to tell them why Sparks was killed.

"I would urge anyone who thinks they would have heard or seen anything to please contact the police and provide us with that information," said Wayne Jerman, Cedar Rapids Police Chief.

Sparks' death is the third homicide in Cedar Rapids this year. It comes less than a week after a double homicide/suicide across town.

"Is there something going on?" said Jerman. "Well, anytime the number exceeds zero, we're very concerned. Each of those numbers represents a person."

People living on the 1800 block of B Ave NE didn't know Sparks, but were still upset by his death.

"Me and my family, we feel really bad, and our hearts go out to their family," said neighbor Lonnie VanDamme.

Sparks' family and friends told us they're planning a vigil for him and want to hold that later this week.

This is the third homicide of the year in Cedar Rapids and it's only February. In 2012 and 2013, three was the count at the end of the year.

An autopsy is being done tomorrow to determine what caused Sparks' death. Police do not have a description of a possible suspect or suspects.

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