Cleveland mayor blames ‘availability of guns’ to juveniles for deadly weekend shootings

CLEVELAND-- Cleveland city officials held a news conference Monday afternoon following a weekend of violence.

Mayor Frank Jackson said the availability of guns, especially to juveniles, was a key factor in the recent shootings.

“Just go out on the street and just talk to a bunch of young males, 15, 14, 16, 17, ask them about a gun. If they don’t have one on them, they’ll tell you where you can get one,” Jackson said.

Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams urged family and friends to come forward with information about juveniles with guns, adding these shootings were preventable.

"We need folks to step up. This has to be a community effort," Williams said. "We need the public's help because we don't want further retaliation or anything else that goes along with these incidents. We want to stop this right now."

On Saturday, a 61-year-old college professor and a 15-year-old boy died in a drive-by shooting in the area of East 89th Street and Woodland Avenue. Three men were arrested.

Williams said he believed David Wilder, a Cleveland State University art professor, was just driving through when the bullet went into his windshield.

Cleveland police also investigated shootings on Sunday at East 75th Street and Kinsman Avenue; Charles V. Carr Place and Rouse Avenue; and Bell Avenue and East 72nd Street. Four people were hurt and two people, ages 17 and 19, were killed. Williams described it as a "running gun battle."

He said police have some inclination that the shootings on Saturday and Sunday may be related. According to Williams, there are similarities.

Jackson and Williams also spoke briefly about the fights at the I-X Center Indoor Amusement Park on Saturday.

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There were five deaths in three incidents and about five other people who were injured, Mayor Frank Jackson says.

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“It is about the availability of guns,” Jackson says.

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“Running vehicular gun battle,” Williams describes the shooting on Saturday where four people were shot, including two killed. Williams says David Wilder, 61, was caught in the crossfire. Three people were arrested for that shooting.

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Williams describes Sunday as another “running gun battle” where more people were shot on the city’s east side.

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Williams says they need the public’s help, especially from family members, when these juveniles have guns. He says these shootings were preventable. 

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“We need folks to step up. This has to be a community effort,” Williams says about recent gun violence. 

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Mayor Jackson says the gang impact unit focuses on areas with high homicides, drug activity. They can’t measure the success of the police in these situations because it’s all about preventing crimes.

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Police officials say gun shows and burglaries are the big source of these gun purchases.

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“Just go out on the street and just talk to a bunch of young males, 15, 14, 16, 17, ask them about a gun. If they don’t have one on them, they’ll tell you where you can get one,” Jackson says.

Cleveland City Hall