ELYRIA — Cody Snyder’s family expected him to die young.
They expected cystic fibrosis to kill him.
They expected a lung infection to be his cause of death.
They didn’t expect a bullet to do it instead.
This is a family photo of Cody Snyder.
PHOTO PROVIDED Enlarge
“My expression to him was always ‘CF will kill you if you don’t get hit by a bus,’” said his father, Ron Snyder. “I said that and I know I was kind of cavalier about it because I knew that was the reality. But that was still my baby… Just because you know what the prognosis doesn't mean you are ready for it to happen.”
Ron Snyder said he was sitting at his Livermore Lane home just after 9 p.m. Tuesday when he heard a frantic knock at his front door. One of Cody’s friends blurted out the news that someone had shot Cody.
The boy didn’t know anything else, but he said it was bad.
Ron Snyder said he went as quickly as he could to University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center. That is where the 19-year-old died.
The police have said a drug deal that turned into a robbery led to Cody’s death.
Officers went to the area of 162 Clinton Ave. for a report of shots fired at 8:37 p.m. Tuesday. They found evidence of gunshots but nobody who was involved in a shooting. Witnesses said they saw a man running through backyards toward Bell Avenue.
Ten minutes later, a vehicle pulled into the hospital’s emergency room parking lot and the driver said a passenger had been shot. A nearby police officer found Cody covered in blood in the passenger seat.
He had been shot in the chest.
According to Elyria Municipal Court Prosecutor Michelle Nedwick, the initial investigation revealed Snyder went to meet 18-year-old Kajuan Anderson to sell marijuana to Anderson.
Anderson and two juveniles, ages 16 and 17, planned to rob Cody, she said. He was shot during that robbery.
Days later, Cody’s family said they are still trying to piece together what police said happened, what they know about Cody and how the two don’t match up.
“I just don’t think he thought there was as bad of people out here that there was,” Ron Snyder said. “He saw the good in everyone no matter what. He wanted to help everybody. Come on, when he was 15 years old, he saved up $500 to buy a bird that no one wanted because it was mean just to save it. How many 15-year-olds would do that?”
Since Cody’s death, social media posts from anonymous and online spectators to the Snyder family’s tragedy have angered many of Cody’s family and friends. Comments about how race, drugs and bravado contributed to the young man’s death say nothing substantial about his life, his father said.
“Cody was full of life,” he said.
Cody got his first job at 14, working at Best in Pets.
He owned every kind of pet imaginable, but his favorite was his Jack Russell terrier named Link.
“He was a fighter who never let his disease define his life. He defined his disease,” said his mother, Christine Snyder.
He was a daredevil who loved to pop wheelies and do tricks around town. One day he fractured his neck and split the back of his head open. A few days later, he was back doing backflips in the backyard on a trampoline.
He loved dirt bikes and BMX bikes. At 17, he got a Make-A-Wish trip to Camp Woodward, which is known for its action sports, gymnastics and cheer programming. It was better than going to Disney World for Cody.
He worked as a service technician at All-Weather Heating and Cooling.
He had a lot of friends and already was living on his own.
He loved to hunt, fish and be outside in nature. When he was 6, the family went on a fishing trip in southern Ohio. Cody caught a 26-pound catfish and carried it around to show off for everyone in the family.
Georgia Snyder wonders if the three people now charged by police with murder knew any of that about her nephew.
“Regardless to what transpired, no one has any right to take another person’s life,” she said. “What those three young men have done has had devastating consequences for our family and theirs.”
“It’s just senseless. Four families are destroyed,” Ron Snyder added. “At least right now, I don’t hold malice for their families. I just wish that someone had instilled values of life or self-respect so they wouldn’t do that and earn stuff. Evidently, something was lacking.”
Since Tuesday, Anderson and the two charged juveniles have appeared in court in connection with the fatal shooting. The boys have denied the charges against them and are being held in the county Juvenile Detention Center. Anderson was being held at Lorain County Jail on $1 million bond.
Georgia Snyder went to each court hearing, listening to the proceedings so her brother could instead plan Cody’s funeral. Before leaving Municipal Court on Tuesday, Georgia Snyder said Anderson’s mother hugged her and said she was praying for Cody’s family. Georgia Snyder said she told her she was doing the same.
Services are set for 10 a.m. Monday at The Laubenthal-Mercado Funeral Home.
Ron Snyder said Cody’s bike will be parked near his casket and he has asked all of his friends to bring bike stickers to decorate his casket. He said he wants them to say goodbye like kids, but to also learn an adult lesson from Cody’s death.
“Just don’t let his death be in vain,” he said.
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