Crime

She just put kids and laundry in the car when she was shot to death. Who pulled the trigger?

Long Beach Police investigator Craig DeRoche says they believe they know who killed Kyzmi Rose Allen on Dec. 14, 1977, but that suspect is now dead.
Long Beach Police investigator Craig DeRoche says they believe they know who killed Kyzmi Rose Allen on Dec. 14, 1977, but that suspect is now dead. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com

Kyzmi “Kay” Allen was doing nothing more exciting on Wednesday night, Dec. 14, 1977, than her laundry at a laundromat on Railroad Street in Long Beach.

The 20-year-old woman was with a friend and her two children. Together, they put the kids in the car, then began to load their clean clothes. It was about 8:30 p.m.

Suddenly, a man in a nearby vehicle shot Allen in the chest with a .22 caliber weapon and fled, according to police reports.

Allen was pronounced dead at Gulf Coast Community Hospital as a result of the shooting.

Those details are known. One other fact, that the suspect or suspects fled in a red and white vehicle, was added later by Long Beach Police.

The suspect was never captured. Allen’s family would like to know for sure what happened. Her sister said she feels Allen’s case has been forgotten.

“I’m resolved to the fact that it’s never going to be solved,” said Belinda Ryle. “But I just feel she’s been forgotten. Not by family, but she’s been forgotten.”

Ryle said the cold case was revived in her mind when an update on the death of Kimberly Watts was in the news in November.

Long Beach Police, however, say the case is an open homicide, cold case investigation, though there’s not much left to go on after after 40 years.

Investigator Craig DeRoche said the case has been on his desk and it’s one that he has continued to work as information comes up or new information comes to light.

“We run down every lead that is generated or supplied,” he said. “There’s lots of speculation, but we look for facts, proof and evidence.”

According to a statement from the woman who was with Allen the night of the shooting, Kyzmi went through the door first. She stopped suddenly, put her basket down and said, “I think I’ve been shot.” She laid on the ground and didn’t say anything else, DeRoche said, according to the witness statement. She was pronounced dead at the hospital.

U.S. Department of Justice grant helps pay for overtime to allow investigators to solve mysterious crimes

A motive for the shooting also remains buried in the past.

“I spent a lot of time with this over a couple of years. This is my cold case,” he said. DeRoche even joined forces with the Harrison County cold case division and obtained reports and interviews conducted by the sheriff’s office.

From that information, he was able to identify two suspects. Someone had called in a tip that the two men had been bragging about the shooting.

Those potential suspects, DeRoche learned, have since died.

“We understand the family’s sentiments and would like the close the case, too,” DeRoche said. “Any new evidence that presents itself, we will investigate.”

It's been three years since now-Long Beach Mayor George Bass found his sister-in-law, Kimberly Watts, dead in her Long Beach home in November 2014. Watts' death was ruled a homicide, but there have been no suspects identified or arrests made in th

Kate Magandy: 228-896-2344, @kmagandy

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