Real Name: Joseph Dennis Cole
Nicknames: Joe Cole
Location: Venice Beach, California
Date: December 19, 1991
Details: Joseph Cole was the son of television actor Dennis Cole and the best friend of actor/musician Henry Rollins. Joseph Cole and Henry Rollins lived in a home in the predominantly Black and Hispanic neighborhood of Oakwood within Venice Beach, California; the neighborhood was known as the "Ghost Town" portion of Venice and was notorious for crime and lack of safety. Henry and Joseph lived in the shady neighborhood because they planned to document the plight of homeless Vietnam veterans in the area.
On December 19, 1991, Joe and Henry attended a rock music concert at the famous Whisky A Go-Go NightClub in nearby West Hollywood and then stopped at an all-night market before they headed home. When the two arrived home they were confronted by two armed intruders. One robber shoved Henry to his knees while the other forced Joe to lay face down on the ground. The gunmen told the two not scream or they would be killed. As the terrified men were on the ground the robbers took what little money the friends had, which was less than $50.
The gunmen were angered at the lack of money Joe and Henry had, so they demanded the two friends get money from their house and give it to them. The gunmen allowed Henry to enter the house, but shot Joe point-blank outside. They also shot at Henry once as his back was turned, but missed, then they fled on foot into the night. Henry knew they had fled, so he quickly called police, then he went outside and discovered his friend Joe with a single gunshot wound to the head. By time police arrived, the gunmen had vanished, and Joe had died as a result of the shooting.
Despite interviews with hundreds of people in the area, the killers are still on the loose over twenty years later. Investigators believe the killers might still live in the Oakwood area of Venice Beach even after all these years. There's still a $25,000 reward available for the capture of the killers.
Suspects: Both suspects are African-American males who are in their forties or fifties today and were in their twenties or thirties at the time of shooting in 1991. One of the killers is approximately 5'11" and 165 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.
Extra Notes: This segment originally aired on the May 17, 1996 episode of Unsolved Mysteries.
Results: Unsolved. Sadly, Dennis Cole passed away in November 2009 at the age of 69 without learning of any new details to the case. However, according to unconfirmed reports, a man resembling Joe's killer has been spotted but never identified.
- Joseph Cole on Unsolved.com
- Joseph Cole on Wikipedia
- Punk Rock Band's Road Crew Member Slain
- Henry Rollins: Joe Cole and American Gun Violence
- Joseph Cole on Find a Grave