CLEVELAND - Two members of a notorious Cleveland street gang are convicted in several carjackings that terrorized the Tremont neighborhood. A total of five gang members will now be punished for the crimes that happened two summers ago.
"I think that it's great they got convicted, I think it'll help people feel safer and the fact that now people know, if you do this, you could perhaps be convicted, I think it'll scare people more, hopefully," said Tremont resident Olivia Buller.
People we spoke to in Tremont say they have always felt safe in their neighborhood, but their sense of security was tested in the summer of 2015.
"I don't want people from the suburbs of Cleveland thinking that Tremont is an unsafe place to live...there are of course random acts of violence, but for the most part it's a very safe place to be," said resident James Beaudry.
Wednesday, a federal jury convicted Heartless Felon gang members 20-year old Kenneth Jackson, Jr. and 24-year old Antowine Palmer. Prosecutors say they carjacked an employee outside the Barrio restaurant on Literary Road in July of 2015. They held a gun to his head, pistol-whipped him and stole his vehicle, wallet and cell phone. Jackson was also convicted of carjacking a couple the next day.
Employees at Barrio did not want to go on camera, but the kitchen manager did tell me off camera that he is pleased by the outcome and relieved that justice has been served.
Prosecutors say 23-year old Tervon'tae Taylor, 20-year old D'wan Dillard, Jr and 23-year old Calvin Rembert also participated in the carjacking, but pleaded guilty. They say the men planned to use the vehicles to do a drive-by shooting against rival members of their own gang.
"I turn around and this kid has a gun on me and says 'give me your keys and give me your phone," recalled Tremont resident Joy Del Valle.
Del Valle says two years ago, she was carjacked by a different group of robbers, who were also caught and convicted.
"It's just really frustrating honestly being in this awesome area because there's really safe parts of Tremont and there are not so safe parts of Tremont and I've never had a view that it was unsafe until this happened to me," she said.
Jackson and Palmer are scheduled to be sentenced on August 23rd.
Palmer must also face a murder trial in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.