Jeanne Elliott and Frank Azl with Lajan

Jeanne Elliott, mother of Roderick Russ, stands with Frank Azl Cambridge City Council President Lajan Cephas in Azl’s store.

CAMBRIDGE — The mother of a murder victim is setting up a reward fund to help find the suspect in her son’s murder.

Jeanne Elliott, mother of Roderick Russ, received a check for $1,000 from store owner Frank Azl on Monday, April, 19 at Short Stop Food Mart on the corner of Washington Street and Greenwood Avenue.

Azl owns and operates Short Stop as well as Cambridge Super Soda on Cedar Street. He told Elliott that the check was not a donation, but rather was to show her, “The community cares, we care for her loss.”

“It’s to make her feel that we stand with her,” he said.

“Words can’t express how much it means,” said Elliott, “I’ve been feeling like I’m alone, like I’ve been fighting alone.”

The Cambridge Police Department has an active arrest warrant for 22-year-old Ryshon Kelly, 22, on a charge of first-degree murder in connection Russ’s fatal stabbing on Douglas Street on Oct. 24, 2020.

“We as communities and neighbors need to band together when tragedies happen,” said Cambridge City Council President Lajan Cephas. “We need to stop protecting individuals who commit crimes in our neighborhoods.

“If anyone has any information on the Roderick Russ case, they need to reach out to CPD. Let’s work towards giving the family and our city some peace. If you know something, please say something.”

Cambridge Mayor Andrew Bradshaw said the renewed effort and focus on finding the suspect fits with the current climate of law enforcement in the city, with police recently making five arrests over two weeks in the cases of two separate murders.

“We’re going to ensure that anyone who commits that type of crime is held responsible,” Bradshaw said, “If there’s anything we can do to make it easy or safer for individuals to get involved (solving the crimes), we’re going to do it.”

Bradshaw said the police can investigate and research, but without assistance from citizens, some crimes cannot be solved: “It takes all of us working together — we have to value the lives of our neighbors more than anything else.”

Elliott said that some members of the community needed to change the way they view violence: “People have to think before they act. Nothing is worth taking a person’s life. You can’t take it back.”

Donations to the reward fund are being accepted via Cash App at $Justice4Ra.

CPD spokesman Capt. Justin Todd said Kelly may have changed his appearance and hair style.

Kelly is described as having black hair and brown eyes, standing 5’7” tall and weighing 143 pounds.

Kelly’s whereabouts are unknown at this time, and anyone with information is asked to contact their local police agency or the CPD at 410-228-3333.

Tips can be phoned in to CPD anonymously by calling 410-228-3784.

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