Homeless Man Slain in Edmond, Oklahoma
One More Time: One city in America, and another man gone, Dwite A. Morgan.
His name was “Bicycle Bob” to those who saw, retreated or greeted him on the streets of town. He was tall and slender, quiet and no trouble-maker. Ever.
Funeral plans are currently being finalized for the long-term homeless gentleman known to this community as Bicycle Bob. His real name was Dwight Morgan, though most of the townspeople did not know that even though he lived on city streets for over twenty-five years.
Donations for his funeral and burial were quickly gathered, and the collection for monetary charity was quickly ended as the community members and businesses garnered a sufficient sum in less than three days.
Mr. Bob did own his personal burial plot in a local cemetery. A city mortuary and a church have offered their services for these last respectful responsibilities to be properly accomplished for Mr. Bob.
Mr. Bicycle Bob was known in Edmond because he was the first homeless man to take up permanent residence here when the city was several thousand residents fewer. Others had come for a while and then went their solitary unknown way. But through the many years, Mr. Bob was seen often times riding his bicycle pulling an old lawnmower which he used for small jobs to earn his meals. Then that was stolen. His bicycle was replaced by helpful friends more than once, for someone either stole it for use or as a repeated prank. For the last few years Mr. Bob mainly walked.
He would be seen in south Edmond for several days, then would be found in northeast areas. For a short time he slept in a small old abandoned house out east of town, but someone complained and he was told to leave that situation. Which he always did – leave the area if someone complained about his presence.
In recent years he seemed to spend a lot of time in northwestern Edmond where new businesses had been built. One was a McDonald’s where he often bought coffee – and sometimes enjoyed a meal from a compassionate onlooker. He could many times be seen counting and re-counting his pennies spread out on the table; maybe forty or fifty cents at a time. He gathered cans to sell for the pennies it brought. In winter cold, he could be warm inside and gain bodily warmth before entering the cold again.
Community tried to help, tried to change Bicycle Bob.
One wintertime, a long time ago, I went to a local Grandy’s restaurant for late breakfast, and there was Bicycle Bob sitting at a small table with his pennies outspread and sipping on a cup of coffee. It was difficult for me to be hungry, to eat, as I felt such sorrow for him. When I left I asked the cashier if he had eaten and she replied that he had. I then paid for a full meal for future use for him with her reassurance that it would be used and appreciated. She also said that the restaurant would many times give him food for no cost. That seemed to be a repeated response to Mr. Bob’s need by several businesses in the area. Though he was not a communicative person, he was never rude or loud nor ever made any trouble.
Charlotte Worsham, owner of Around the Corner restaurant, a long established business here, said she fed him sausage, biscuits and gravy for several recent years. Mr. Bob also took advantage of a free breakfast offered locally by the First Christian Church, and I have known of others who would anonymously buy him a meal ‘in advance’.
The local police department officers were familiar with Bicycle Bob and friendly to him, buying him a hamburger or offering him water, for he never ever caused a problem. Craig Cossey, manager of Al’s Bicycle Shop befriended Bicycle Bob and helped him with any bicycle problems that occurred. He allowed Mr. Bob to visit a lot – in the winter – in his shop, for warmth. Mr. Bob did not prefer to live in a house or apartment though community members would try to assist him in this.
According to news reports, on Sunday, October 18, 2009, Dwight Morgan’s body was found near his bedding in central Edmond. There was blunt force trauma and stab wounds to the body, according to police reports.
His murder has resulted in the arrest of another homeless man.
Mr. Bicycle Bob, Dwite Morgan was 54.
Homelessness is a tragic problem for all of us.
There are many known mentally unhealthy persons living on the streets of our cities and towns. How could we have helped them 54 years ago? Or 25? Or 3? Yes, some are dangerous to provoke to violence, or may have other significant cautionary health and social issues. But not all. Our ‘system’ has failed its purpose, failed the Bicycle Bobs of our world.
But within that tragic failure, there must be a few ‘points of light’ that shine, and that is something to be continued and appreciated. And in REMEMBERING, ACT!
Over five-hundred-thousand people are considered homeless in American statistics provided by Granruth and Smith, 1996. Of these about sixty percent are single men. About seventy percent of the homeless peoples live in urban areas with unknown accurate figures for rural homeless persons. Beyond Shelter and National Alliance to End Homelessness are two organizations that battle the poverty, danger and deprivation of the homeless. The National Coalition for the Homeless engages in advocacy and education projects also.
Here are great links on HubPages to read further.
- Homeless Children: The Growing Epidemic
The typical image of a homeless person is a male in his mid 30s to late 60s living in abject poverty. You see him hanging out at soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and on street corners. His mobility...
The Community Responds
A funeral service was held at First Christian Church in Edmond, Oklahoma with about 350 community members attending and many sharing their stories of Dwite (spelling corrected) Morgan. The local donations for final expenses exceeded costs and monies above that needed will be donated to local charities.
The Rev. Kyle Maxwell, Executive Director of Oklahoma Disciples Foundation, spoke of Dwite. . He stated publicly that "Dwite was an integral part of the community." Described as a humble person, Bicycle Bob reminded us all to live in a humble manner. Rev. Chris Shorow, senior pastor at First Christian Church officiated the honoring service for Mr. Morgan. Associate pastor, Rev. Jerry Black, said, "Dwite Morgan reminded us that we are a community. He gave us a reason to reach out as a community. For that, we are in his debit.: (Quoted from The Edmond Sun newspaper, October 21,2009 issue.)
Edmond Police officers were pallbearers for Mr. Morgan's final journey. A headstone is currently being created for Dwite and will exhibit a bicycle along with his nickname. The Warren Monument Company of Guthrie is donating the headstone. Dwite is buried beside his grandmother in Gracelawn Cemetery.
In spite of his mental illness, Dwite left his gentle mark on many people, and will remain a reminder that all peoples are important, different, and to be respected.
Memorial news respecting Dwite Morgan - Bicycle Bob - may be found on Facebook, www.facebook.com/ DwiteAMorgan.
Update: December 16, 2009
Three homeless persons, two males and one female, all age nineteen were arrested and charged in the murder of Dwite Morgan. One male, Mason, has admitted the murder of Mr. Morgan. He had previously told of the murder to friends. The initial person arrested was released when his taped confession was reviewed by police officials and revealed he was not the actual murderer.
Update: October 18, 2011.
I noted the date of Bob's death was October 18 when I reviewed the hub for this update. In the Daily Oklahoman of October 18, 2011, there is an article: Trial is postponed in Bicycle Bob case."
A knife believed to be the murder weapon has been recovered by the Edmond police. Trial had been set to begin next week, but has been postponed to February 27, 2012 so testing can be accomplished on this new evidence.
Addendum: The accused also homeless man has previously admitted and bragged about performing this murder 'for the thrill of killing'. Two friends told police that Mason had showed them a finger of Bob's that he had cut off after murdering him, bragging of his thrill killing.