Father of 19 children shot dead on his mother’s birthday

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) — Not even two hours into 2022, a Milwaukee man was shot dead while celebrating the New Year at a bar with friends. Jerome Howard’s mother, Portia, sat down with CBS 58 just hours before cremating her son and saying goodbye to her firstborn.

“They stole his life,” Portia Howard said. “They killed my son on my birthday. I can’t celebrate a birthday anymore.”

Portia’s birthday is January 1. Her son, Jerome, was celebrating the New Year with friends at Rose’s Place on 20 and Locust. According to Milwaukee police, around 1 a.m. he got into an argument and someone shot him multiple times, killing him.

“He didn’t deserve what happened to him. I love him. I’m going to miss him a lot. He was everything to me,” Portia said.

Milwaukee police say they have no suspects but numerous witnesses.

“We’re really hoping some people at the bar will call Crime Stoppers and tell us what they saw so we have the full story,” said Rosemarie Galindo of the Milwaukee Police Department.

Portia said her son works as a barber but his greatest love is being a father. He had 19 children.

“He was a ladies’ man,” Portia said. “He loved his children, he had many. He had 19 children. Always say when God said be fruitful and multiply, he heard.”

Portia said she believed the shooting was personal.

“It’s like a crime of passion to me. Too many women, too many kids, too much jealousy. And everyone knows jealousy is of the devil.”

Portia says that instead of a gun, people should choose something better to solve their problems.

“Before you pull the trigger, bring this Bible. Talk to God. If you’re mad at someone, talk to God. If your boyfriend or baby isn’t doing you well, talk to God. in to God,” Portia said. “You don’t have the right to go and shoot someone and if you do, there are consequences you have to face.”

While Portia hopes someone will come forward to help her get justice, she swears to get it from God anyway.

“Whoever did this to my son, I forgive you and get your Bible out. You’re going to need it,” Portia said.

If you know anything about the shooting that killed 40-year-old Jerome Howard on January 1, 2022, call Milwaukee Crime Stoppers at 414-224-TIPS. Your call is always anonymous and if your tip leads to an arrest, you get a $1,000 cash reward.

Mark M. Gagnon