The last thing Jamie Kimble, 31, told her mother as they parted ways at a Chicago train station was, “I love you more, Mom.”
Less than a month later on Labor Day 2012, she was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend, who then committed suicide.
Jamie, the daughter of Charlotte’s deputy city manager, Ron Kimble, had broken up with the abusive man three months prior to the shooting. She had dated him for what her father called “seven excruciating years.”
He and his wife, Jan, shared their story with about 400 people Wednesday afternoon at the Safe Alliance Partner Luncheon to raise awareness and funding to help stop domestic violence.
Safe Alliance is a nonprofit that offers shelter, advocacy, and legal and counseling services to victims of domestic and sexual violence, child abuse, and emotional trauma.
Several Charlotte notables were in attendance at the luncheon, including former Bank of America Chairman and CEO Hugh McColl, former Hornets and Bobcats coach Paul Silas, former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt, Charlotte police Chief Rodney Monroe and author Paula Broadwell.
Few eyes remained dry in the uptown Hilton ballroom as the Kimbles spoke of their loss.
Ron Kimble recalled the memory of two detectives knocking on his door on the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. Police said Jamie’s ex-boyfriend, Luis Roberson Rodriguez, had picked up Jamie from the Tampa (Fla.) International Airport. In the car, he began arguing with her and punching her, according to a report from the Tampa Bay Times. After she jumped out of the car, he shot her, police said. The Kimbles said he had traveled 18 hours from Kansas City to get his gun from his parents’ house in Orlando.
“It was one of the brightest of days for Charlotte but one of the darkest days for us,” he said.
Jamie, the only child of the Kimbles, had been a rising star. She graduated from J.H. Rose High School in Greenville, N.C., and had been in the top 10 of her class. Three and a half years later, she graduated from UNC Chapel Hill. She became a successful sales professional with BYB Brands, a subsidiary of Coca-Cola Consolidated based in Charlotte. At the time of her death, she lived in Florida and had been planning to move to Dallas for her job.
She loved to dance, run, travel and took pride in being the first person to wish friends and family a happy birthday, often at 12:01 a.m., her father said. Above all, her parents said, she prized her family and giving of herself to others.
“To know Jamie was to love her,” Jan Kimble said.
Pat Cotham, Mecklenburg County commission chairwoman, attended the luncheon and said domestic violence has a stigma and people need to stop being embarrassed about it.
“It’s like mental illness – we need to talk about this more,” she said. Cotham said she’s worked with domestic violence victims and said women need to know that forgiveness, in the case of abuse, is not the answer. Getting help is.
Though the Kimbles’ daughter died at the hands of domestic violence, they’re working to make sure it was not in vain.
“This will not, cannot and must not be the last chapter of Jamie’s book,” he said. “God’s plan now is for Jamie’s spirit and memory to live so that others might live.”
Ruebens: 704-358-5294; Twitter: @lruebens
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