Real Name: Clara "C.W." Roddy
Case: Attempted Murder
Location: East Palo Alto, California
Date: January 1, 1990
Details: On New Years Day, sixty-year-old C.W. Roddy was shot several times by an unknown assailant but she miraculously survived the shooting. Police believe that the shooting was related to the drug activity occurring in her neighborhood of East Palo Alto and how she was trying to stop it.
Since the mid-1980s, drug traffickers have been moving into the area where C.W. lived with her son, Darnell. According to the Roddys, the drug dealers would stand in the middle of their street, running up to cars and trying to sell them a variety of street drugs. When C.W. figured out what was happening in her neighborhood, she decided to take action. She first confronted some of the drug dealers when several of them parked on the street in front of her house. She wrote down their license plates and sent them to the police. However, the understaffed police department could do little to help her.
In February of 1988, C.W. was physically threatened by one of the drug dealers; he told her that he was going to blow up her house. When she told a police officer sitting nearby, he asked if she wanted to make a citizens' arrest. She did; the police officer then arrested the man. However, within a few days, he was back on the streets.
In October of 1989, C.W. told one of the drug dealers to move their car away from her house. Another drug dealer then punched her in the face. However, she hit him back and then went to her house to call the police. She was shocked to discover that the man had been arrested and released before she even finished her police report.
In December of 1989, C.W. became involved in another confrontation. Chris Thomas, a new neighbor, was wounded when he came to her defense. He was taken to the hospital and received several stitches. The police, again, were called and the attacker was arrested. For ten days, everything seemed to have quieted down.
Then, on New Years Day of 1990, C.W. was awakened to the sound of gunfire outside of her home. Since it was just past midnight, she assumed that the sounds were just people celebrating. She decided to look outside, and she saw three young men across the street. Twenty minutes later, at least three unknown assailants started shooting at the Roddy home. C.W. was shot in the stomach; Darnell immediately called 911.
Police searched for the shooters, but found no trace of them. However, the Roddy's neighbors, Chris and Eliza Thomas, witnessed the attack. They saw two young African-American men firing at the Roddy's home. Investigators located shell casings from three different weapons. The FBI was called in to investigate the shooting.
Despite an extensive investigation, no concrete evidence has been found and C.W.'s attackers remain at large. However, the attack caused a positive change for her neighborhood. A group of mothers got together to help drive the drug dealers out of the area. They have been successful in getting rid of the dealers at their local park, but there is still more to do. C.W. and the group are still working to rid their neighborhood of dealers and bring her attackers to justice.
Suspects: C.W. Roddy was shot by a .38 revolver, a .380 semi-automatic pistol, and an Uzi submachine gun. Her neighbors described the assailants as two young African-American males. Many believe that drug dealers were planning on killing her, but no arrests have ever been made.
Extra Notes: The case was featured as a part of the September 26, 1990 episode.
Results: Unsolved. Eventually, all of the drug dealers left C.W.'s East Palo Alto neighborhood. Sadly, C.W. Roddy passed away on November 11, 2012 at the age of eighty-three. She remained in East Palo Alto until her death. Her attackers have never been identified. However, her son Darnell and members of the neighborhood are still hoping that the case can be solved.
- C.W. Roddy on Unsolved.com
- Anti-Drug Activist Wounded by Shots
- Drug-Plagued Area to Get More Police
- You don't mess with Clara Roddy
- Anti-drug crusader attacked again
- Firebombs tossed at home of feisty anti-drug crusader
- Here's to a nice addiction
- Drug-Shooting Casualty Inspires a City to Resist
- California Drug Dealers Put Out $10,000 Contract On Defiant Woman
- Despite being shot, a drug fighter stands tall
- An Attack 10 Years Ago United East Palo Alto
- Videos, voters, and youth voices
- C.W. Roddy at Find a Grave
- Obituary on C.W. Roddy
- Facebook memorial