Family Plans Funeral Instead of Birthday Party

CLEVELAND — A frightened caller reported an emergency to 911.

“Yes, m’am. We have a woman over here shot, might be dead. Amesbury Complex. I need the police! Please, now. Hurry up!” the voice said.

Police found Valetta Martin, 45, had been caught in crossfire on Wednesday night on Amesbury Avenue in Cleveland.

“Can I have the police at 93rd and Hough?” the person said in another call.  “We do live in the Amesbury. We out here playing cowboys and indians. They out there shooting in our front yard.”

Police were called to the Amesbury Rosalind Apartment Complex just after 10:30 p.m. after witnesses reported two men shooting at each other.

Martin was shot in the chest.

“It was real dark then it was real lit up down here,” said Drew Woods, a witness.

According to Martin’s sister, Pamela West, the family called Valetta “Lala.”

Martin was a mother of five and grandmother of four

She was out celebrating her 45th birthday Wednesday night.

“My daughter bought her a CD player and she was so happy and crying.  I thought, I’m gonna take my sister and throw her a big party and now she’s gone!” cried West.

Also hit in the crossfire was a building owned by Case Western Reserve University, about a block away.

And while police continue to investigate the shooting, Martin’s family is left to plan a funeral instead of a family birthday party this weekend.

“She would never hurt nobody around here. Never. She laughed, she talked, she drank her beer. And you know, she’d get loud and party.  But then on Sunday mornings, she’d go to church. She was in the choir. She do things in church. Why they gotta kill my sister like that?” cried West.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Cleveland Division of Police Homicide Unit at (216) 623-5464.