EAST CLEVELAND--A toy giveaway in East Cleveland proved to be an event that helped hundreds of people in so many ways Saturday. That includes a grieving father whose son was taken by gun violence just one day ago.
Lanell McKinney was wrapping presents, preparing for the toy drive his boss organized at the Hayden Gas and Go, when he found out his son had been killed.
Cleveland police said the act of violence happened at East 55th and Bessemer, Friday evening.
McKinney tells Fox 8 his son, Lanell Jr., 22, died before arriving at MetroHealth Medical Center.
"Hug your children, you never know the last time you were going to see them, you know," McKinney said.
On Saturday as hundreds of children came to the carry out with their families, McKinney said he had to be part of the positive event even though he is suffering right now.
He also explained to Fox 8 he lost another son back on August 20th, also to gun violence.
"I just needed to be around people."
McKinney has been working at the carry out for the last several years, but was blown away by the love and support he received from customers, total strangers.
Hundreds of children also received the gift of Christmas joy and McKinney said he was happy to be part of that.