Ronald and Evan Page were not just brothers.
They grew up without a father; one was raised by their disabled mother, the other by their grandmother. As teenagers, Evan, who was older, was like a father to Ronald, who admired and respected his older brother’s work ethic, his determination and his aspiration to one day become a police officer.
Evan Page, however, never even lived long enough to dance at his senior prom. On Nov. 29, 2005, Evan, a 17-year-old senior at Carol City High, was silenced by a single bullet during a fatal robbery that, to this day, has not been solved.
But Ronald, who was just 14 when his brother was slain, is now fulfilling his brother’s dream. After surviving a few rocky years in middle school , including a car accident that shattered his leg so badly he had to learn to walk again and missed several months of school, Ronald Page graduated at the top of his class at Miami Central High in 2010.
And on Thursday — seven years after his brother’s murder — he graduates from the City of Miami Police Academy.
“It’s something I’ve worked for and wanted since he died,” Ronald Page said. “I just always wanted to go into law enforcement because of him.’’
In 2011, Ronald was selected as the first recipient of The Angel Calzadilla/Do The Right Thing Police Memorial Scholarship, which honors the memory of former Senior Executive Assistant/Miami police officer Angel Calzadilla, who suffered from cystic fibrosis and died in February 2011 at the age of 48.
Do The Right Thing, an organization that rewards young people for positive behavior, recognized Ronald for overcoming the tragedy of his brother’s murder.
“It’s difficult, even now, for me to talk about it,” Page said. “I was in eighth grade and I went through an anger phase for a long time. I almost flunked out.”
At the time of his brother’s murder, the two boys had been united in the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma. His grandmother, Luella Page, had lost her electricity, so she and Evan, who lived together, came to stay with Ronald and his mother, Rhonda Page.
“I was grateful for that time we were together. Anytime I got into trouble he got on me,” Page said.
His brother, who attended high school during the day, took classes to boost his FCAT scores at night and worked a part-time job at Kmart, still found time to participate in his school’s ROTC program as well as act as a father-figure for his kid brother.
On the night of the killing, Evan Page and a friend had stopped at a Checker’s drive-thru, at 2645 NW 183rd St. in Miami Gardens, about 9:45 p.m. The friend, who was driving, was approached by a man, who shoved a gun in his face and told him to hand over his money. The friend, whom police would not identify, complied, handing over his watch, a ring and his cell phone.
“Move slower or I’ll kill you,” the robber told him.
The suspect then walked over to the passenger-side door, stuck his gun through the window and ordered Evan to do the same. But Evan instead pushed the door open, striking the suspect. There was a struggle and the gunman managed to get off a shot, which struck Evan. He died at the hospital.
“My brother worked very hard. He didn’t get a handout, and he wasn’t going to let some coward take something from him,” Page said.
Miami-Dade homicide Lt. James Tietz said to this day police have no witnesses, other than the driver, and no suspects.
“We would love somebody in the public to come forward and help us, to give us a tip. This was a busy area, it’s hard to believe nobody saw anything.’’
Anyone with any information is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS (8477). Callers may remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward.
Today, Page’s days are no longer measured in anger and despair, but with hope— hope that his brother’s killer will one day be found, and hope that he will one day help other families whose loved ones have been harmed or killed.
He is job-hunting for a position with a local police department, but eventually intends to go to law school and perhaps, one day, become a U.S. congressman.
“The thing people do is they start feeling sorry for themselves and that’s not the way to go through life,” Page said. “I just had to pick myself up and go on.’’