‘He was so gentle:’ Family, friends of homicide victim say he suffered from mental illness

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MILWAUKEE -- Two days after a deadly shooting on Milwaukee's north side, the victim's friends say there is another side to the story.

Jonathan Blackmon

Family of Jonathan Blackmon, 37, say he suffered from mental health issues. They say that likely played a big role in what happened.

Barbara Leigh met Blackmon when he was 20 years old doing shows for the Milwaukee Public Theatre.

"He could speak the language of other kids in a way that very few other people could," Leigh said.

Barbara Leigh

One of Leigh's favorites -- one where Blackmon played the part of a bully.

"Jonathan was big -- he looked really scary. But he was so gentle," Leigh said.

Blackmon's stature may have played a role near 32nd and Lisbon -- where he would take his last breath. Surveillance video shows Blackmon taking someone's hate. The situation escalates when a man enters the frame and the two make like they might fight. The man attempts to leave before coming back in and confronting Blackmon. Moments later, fatal shots would be fired in the parking lot.

Homicide at convenience store near 32nd and Lisbon

"It is just so tragic that he had this other side, that he couldn't control or didn't know how to control," Leigh said.

Jonathan Blackmon

Go Fund Me site setup for Blackmon says he had mental illness -- causing him to react in ways that were "drastically different from the Jon we all know."

"I think it`s really important not to judge him by what just happened," Leigh said.

Those who knew Blackmon say it was a role he did not mean to play in his life story -- one that ended before the curtain was down.

Jonathan Blackmon

Milwaukee police say they do have a suspect in custody in connection with this case. They plan to forward this case on to the district attorney in the coming days.

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