A weekend shooting left a father of four, with another child on the way, dead.
Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety officers were called to the 700 block of Ogden Ave. Friday at 11:27 p.m. There they found Gary Alilovich, 25, riddled with gunshot wounds in a rear bedroom. Police also came across a second victim, Heather Poe, 35, who was critically injured, but still breathing.
Paramedics took Poe to a local Southwest Michigan hospital. On Monday, NewsCenter 16 learned she began talking, giving medical staff renewed hope she’d survive her extensive injuries.
Investigators say the heinous criminal act came at the hands of a brother-sister duo. Within minutes of the shooting, police arrested Jovan Davis, 28, of Benton Harbor and Ashley Davis, 19, of Grand Forks, North Dakota. Both were still inside the home where the killing occurred.
Although detectives are keeping tight-lipped over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, Alilovich’s family members are not. Those sources say Alilovich and Poe dated for roughly 10 months a few years back, and that Jovan Davis was Poe’s current boyfriend.
While it’s unclear as to how the former couple ended-up at the same Benton Harbor home, eyewitnesses described their Friday night reunion as “totally platonic.” Shortly after 11 p.m. however, the Davis siblings forced their way inside the house and picked a fight, possibly in a fit of jealous rage.
Eyewitnesses say Jovan Davis began physically assaulting Poe, causing Alilovich to intervene. When he did, Jovan Davis allegedly pulled-out a handgun and opened fire, hitting both his girlfriend and Alilovich multiple times.
Police say Davis' sister Ashley then joined-in on the rampage, taking the gun from her brother and firing-off more rounds. The entire act was carried out inside a house with more than a dozen people, including five young kids, one of which reportedly saw the shooting take place.
"I just don't understand how anybody can take another person's life purposely, and just watch them die. What if something like that happened to them, how would they feel? They weren't thinking about anybody but themselves. Nobody,” Alilovich’s longtime girlfriend Nikki Reed said.
No words can fully describe what Reed feels inside. The 24-year-old Niles native is now six-months pregnant and totally alone, if not for her mother, who’s stayed by her side ever since the shooting took place.
"I can remember when I first found out I was pregnant. We were on our porch and I walked up with the doctor’s papers. He started crying and said he hoped it was a boy. Well, he got his boy,” Reed recalled with a smile.
It was an August 2012 birth announcement. The couple would soon learn they’d have a boy, to be named Antonio. Alilovich, a sports fanatic and local mixed martial arts fighter, loved no team more than the Indianapolis Colts. So come Christmas morning 2012, his favorite gifts were not his, but Antonio's baby onesies, each bearing Indy insignia.
"He just could not wait for his son to be here. Every single day he said, ‘I wish you were due tomorrow, I can't wait to see my son born,’” Reed added with tears pouring from her sleepless and reddened eyes.
But the nine-month-long wait would prove too long for the LaPorte High School graduate, the oldest of four children, who was dealt a terrible hand of ill fate.
"When I first heard it, I didn't believe it. As I was driving there, I got more and more phone calls and I kept telling people, ‘It's not true.’ When I got out of my car, I ran to the house just to see if it was him and they were like, ‘He's gone Nikki.’ I just couldn’t stomach it,” Reed said.
Reed still hasn't told her two-year-old daughter, Star, the news. After all, the expecting mother can barely fathom what’s happened herself.
"Gary was just about to start work at Niles Precision. He said his first paycheck would go toward a ring. I just don't understand how people do something so bad and act like they don't care. Some things I guess I'll just never understand,” Reed concluded.
On Tuesday Jan. 22, Reed and Alilovich’s father will begin visitation and funeral preparations. It happens to be the same day Alilovich would have turned 26-years-old.
In effort to lessen the financial burden, Tapped Out, the Niles MMA club Alilovich participated in, will hold a benefit fight night on Saturday Feb. 16 at the Niles Inn along S. 11th St. All donations will go directly to Alilovich’s funeral services and the family he leaves behind.
Jovan Davis is preliminarily charged with open murder, assault with intent to murder, felony firearm, felon in possession of a firearm and carrying a concealed weapon. Ashley Davis is preliminarily charged with open murder, felony firearm and assault. Both were booked at the Berrien County Jail. According to WSJM Radio, their arraignments will take place Tuesday at the Berrien County Courthouse in St. Joseph.