Family members remember Richard Simmons, 42, shot and killed in downtown

LANSING — Shameka Simmons met her husband Richard about three years ago. He was just her neighbor then, knocking on her door and asking for sugar.

The two connected almost immediately, she said, talking for almost 10 hours. She was attracted to his eyes and within three months they were married.

“His eyes said a million words,” Shameka Simmons said. “His eyes said it all. They told me his mind, body and soul.”

The two fell in love and remained together until his death earlier this month.

Richard Simmons, a 42-year-old Lansing man, was fatally shot on July 3 in the 300 block of City Market Drive near Rotary Park in Lansing, where police found him around 3:05 a.m.

Lansing residents Jamie Melton, 37, and Jermine Davis, 41, are both facing one count of open murder and carrying a concealed weapon. Davis is also charged with possession of a firearm.

They are both due to take preliminary exams at 9:30 a.m. on September 1 in district court before Judge Cynthia Ward.

Richard Simmons with his grand-nephew.

There were many facets to Simmons’ personality, said his niece, DeAsia Johnson.

He was fiercely loyal and dependable to everyone he cared about. He was also a hardworking family man, with a wife and daughter he loved dearly. But around the family, he always joked.

“Two weeks ago…we just played kickball with him,” Johnson said. “He’s out there to make everyone laugh…Richard was playful.”

Family members say Simmons had a dazzling smile that showed every tooth in his mouth. If you were his friend or a family member, it was always “Call me if you need me” with him, she says.

Johnson recalled how Simmons supported his family when his brother DeVon Johnson died in a car crash in July 2019.

“He brought us back to life after DeVon left,” she said. “Every event we had for DeVon, he was always the one that held the most memories. Like he had shorts with DeVon’s face on them… (and) he made sure DeVon’s son knew who he was.

Richard Simmons (middle), with his wife Shameka Simmons (right) and sister Meneriva Smith (left).

Through good times and bad, Simmons was her family’s “biggest protector,” she said.

“He didn’t play with his family,” Johnson said. “He didn’t care what it was. He would sacrifice anything for us. He was a good man. He loved his wife. He loved his daughter, his sister, his nieces, his nephews. Richard loves everyone.

Simmons was also “so happy” to have his job; he was driving a truck carrying goods, his sister Meneriva Smith said.

“(Simmons) was on social media every day when he was driving his truck,” said Smith, his older sister by one year. “He would post it and let everyone see him drive.”

Weeks after his death, Smith and Johnson said, their family is still in shock and disbelief at the sudden loss of such a stable man as they come.

“My brother didn’t deserve this at all. It tears my family apart,” Smith said. “I just feel for my mother. It’s devastating for her, her only son.

Richard Simmons (right), with his niece DeAsia Johnson.

Simmons’ relatives found themselves revisiting videos of the man in his element – acting awkwardly.

Smith watches one video a day. In it, she and her brother dance on stage at a benefit concert right after the death of her son DeVon.

“I watch this video over and over, every day,” Smith said. “He was a clown.”

Shameka Simmons kept several videos, including one recorded at a karaoke bar during their trip to Las Vegas in July 2021. Richard sang “Ribbon in the Sky” by Stevie Wonder, and by the song’s final chorus she said the entire place chanted his name.

Contact journalist Jared Weber at 517-582-3937 or [email protected]

David H. Henry