The fatally shot Jackson music producer had “hard on the outside, soft on the inside,” says Sister

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JACKSON, MI – Rodney Reynolds Sr. was a tall man with a tough exterior, but he was also very kind and nice, said his sister Paula Jackson.

“If you look at him you’d be like, ‘Oh, he could tear me apart like a bear,'” she said. “It was like a cream puff – hard on the outside, soft on the inside. He was just nice and soft and just amazing. “

Reynolds, 53, of Jackson, was fatally shot and killed on February 16 in Cascade Falls Park. Suspect Antrana Brown, 29, from Jackson is charged with open murder and crime weapons in his death.

Reynolds was the best person Jackson ever knew, and not just because he was her big brother.

“I don’t think he had an enemy,” said Jackson. “Even the person who killed him didn’t know him. If she had done that, there was no way she could have done it. He was such a kind soul. “

Brown had no connection with Reynolds, Jackson County Assistant Attorney Kelsey Guernsey said during her virtual indictment on Wednesday, Feb.17.

Jackson’s wife charged with fatal shooting did not know the victim, the prosecutor says

Everyone loved Reynolds, known as “Big Dirt” or “Phat Maestro,” Jackson said. In 2000, Reynolds and DeMarco Paschall opened JetBlack Records, a label and studio for talent in the Jackson area, according to the Jackson Citizen Patriot archives.

He later produced hip-hop and rap through his company Phat Maestro Productions, designed album covers and did graphic design for local companies.

Reynolds and Jackson, who are white, grew up with a black stepfather, which led Reynolds to stand up for the community he loved, Jackson said.

“He felt roots in the black community,” said Jackson. “If you look at his Facebook you can see the outpouring, most of them are of African American descent.”

Black community leaders and friends mourned Reynolds death on Facebook.

“It kind of fitting that you leave us during Black History Month,” wrote Justin Counts. “A month in which we honor our soldiers, our ancestors and our culture. Anyone who knew you would agree that you are heavily integrated into black culture and hip hop. “

Making music was a side gig for Reynolds, who worked for 30 years at Christ Centered Homes, Inc., an assisted living facility, Jackson said. Part of his job was to take residents out for daily activities. He still did it in the coronavirus pandemic, but sometimes they just had to drive around in the van, Jackson said.

“He could calm everyone down,” said Jackson. “He could have someone off this cliff talk about suicide. He was just that person. “

Jackson fought back tears when she said she missed Reynolds.

“Rodney gave the best hugs,” she said. “They were big bear hugs. They came from the heart. I could use one of his now. “

Reynolds is also survived by his wife TeKeya Reynolds; three children, Brittany Reynolds, Jaz Reynolds, and Rodney Reynolds Jr .; Stepchildren, Danyah ‘Eubanks, Iyannah Estwick, Dominick Johnson, and Ta’Kye Estwick; and numerous grandchildren according to his obituary.

A memorial service will be held on February 27 at 1 p.m. at the Greater Bible Way Temple, 322 Madison St..

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The call to cut Cascade Falls’ hours of operation met with hesitation from Jackson County officials

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