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US Navy veteran slain in AL was ‘not just another murder victim,’ says grieving wife

Police Line Crime Scene. (Tony Webster/WikiCommons)

One week ago today, 36-year-old Robert Milton Bloodsaw III became Birmingham’s 82nd homicide of 2019.

But his grieving wife said he was so much more than a statistic, and she wants people to remember him not for how he died, but for how he lived.

“I just really want people to acknowledge him as a person, a father, a husband, a son, a great man because that’s what he was,’’ said Delia Bloodsaw. “And I just don’t want him to be another Norwood victim who was murdered.”

Officers from Birmingham’s North Precinct responded at 7:05 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, to 1713 3nd Place North. A wounded Bloodsaw was found at the Norwood Plaza apartments where he lived and rushed to UAB Hospital’s Trauma Center where he was pronounced dead at 7:46 p.m.

Police have not announced any arrests in the slaying but say the investigation is ongoing. Court records show Robert Bloodsaw had no criminal record, and police said they have no evidence he was involved in any wrongdoing when he was killed.

Bloodsaw, a Texas native, served in the U.S. Navy for 13 years. He separated from the military in 2016 and a short time later began to struggle with PTSD and bipolar disorder, his wife said. The struggles took a toll on their marriage and they had separated and reconciled more than once.

When on his medication, the husband and father of three children under the age of 11 – the youngest just 10 months old — Bloodsaw excelled. At the time of his death, he was a UAB student studying social work with plans to study abroad. He had a 4.0 GPA, his wife said.

“His main focus and priority was school,’’ Delia Bloodsaw said. “He worked so hard to maintain his accomplishments. I think him trying to keep up with that overwhelmed him.”

But in recent months, Delia Bloodsaw again began to see the familiar signs that her husband was not well, and she could not convince him to seek treatment.

“With him being in the area he was in, it played a major role in his triggers,’’ Delia Bloodsaw said. “I’m a nurse and I’ve worked in mental health and I know when you fall back, you fall back. But it can be corrected.”

About a month ago, she said she had to call police to assist her in getting a car seat out of her husband’s car. “They ended up taking Robert to jail,’’ Delia Bloodsaw said. “I said, ‘He needs to go to the VA.’ He was clearly not in his right mind.’’ At that point, she said, he’d been off his medication for five days and she feared jail would further delay getting him the help he needed.

She said he was arrested on a misdemeanor domestic reckless endangerment charge and spent four days in the city jail. “When he got out, that’s when I left,’’ she said. She took the kids and moved to Kansas to be closer to family.

“I knew he would be further out because he had not had his medication. I told the officer this was my fear with him going to jail,” she said. “I said, ‘I’m scared something’s going to happen to all of us, or I’m going to get a call saying that something’s happened to my husband.’’’

That call came last Thursday night, but it went to the Bloodsaws’ 11-year-old daughter, from one of her young friends in the Birmingham neighborhood. “She asked, ‘Is everything OK with Daddy?’’ Delia Bloodsaw said. “I feel horrible, because I told her it was OK.”

What Delia Bloodsaw said she’s learned is that her husband was sitting outside of his own apartment minding his own business when he was killed. He was doing a live video on the app Live Me saying he wanted to hold a raffle to give away money. “Part of what he goes through during his episodes is he wants to give back to anybody,’’ she said. “He was saying he wanted to give money away and that’s what he does. It makes him feel like a better person. He felt like people would see what he was doing was good.”

Delia Bloodsaw watched the video. “I hear my husband saying, ‘Just turn around,’ and I guess whoever it was turned around. Then you hear gunshots and you hear my husband screaming, ‘I’ve been shot. Call 911.’ I think somebody was robbing him.’’

“With him in the right state of mind, he never would just be outside like that,’’ she said. “When I saw the video, he looked so sad, so alone.”

“I attempted to get treatment for him to get medication and instead they took him to jail,’’ she said. “This is the man that was actively engaged in family events. He didn’t have friends who were criminals or involved in violence.”

She said he was a loving husband and father who would never hurt her or anyone else. He loved his children and was extremely involved in his children’s activities, especially his daughter’s cheerleading events at Norwood Elementary.

Delia Bloodsaw has launched a GoFundMe to help raise money to get her husband’s body back to Texas for burial. Donations can be made here.

“He was a good man,’’ she said. “He was my other half.”