Police investigating pair of attacks that seriously injured victims after night out in downtown Cleveland

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Cleveland police are investigating a pair of apparently random attacks downtown that left the victims with serious injuries after a night out.

The attacks each occurred near West 9th Street and Johnson Court in the city's Warehouse District, a popular nightlife area.

"I never would've thought that this would've happened," said Tracey Baker, of Shaker Heights.
The 52-year-old said she suffered fractures to her left eye socket, cheek bone and jaw and will require facial reconstruction surgery after she was attacked around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.

"Out of nowhere, I felt this crunch on the side of my face," Baker said. "I just was like, 'what just hit me?' and I remember going to the ground."

Baker said she and a date were heading back to their car after spending a night visiting the Flats East Bank. She said she was walking ahead of him on the sidewalk along West 9th Street when she was blindsided.

"When I opened my eyes, he was chasing them away from me because they were coming at me again," she said.

An incident report states a pair of Cleveland police officers witnessed two suspects kicking Baker's date and chased after the suspects.

Police arrested 22-year-old Michael King, of Lorain, on West 6th Street, but the second suspect got away, according to the report.

"They were definitely on a mission," Baker said. "I don't think it was about robbery because they could've had my wallet; it was right there."

One week earlier, on September 8, a similar attack happened in the same area.

The victim, who asked not to be identified, said he left a West 6th Street nightclub where he was celebrating his birthday when four men attacked him on Johnson Court.

"They had me on the ground, and they were stomping me," the victim said. "I was trying to defend myself, but I was overpowered because there were four guys."

The suspects ran away after the victim's friend saw the encounter and jumped in to help fight off the attackers. The victim said he suffered scrapes, bruises and a serious leg injury. He said he went to the hospital and filed a police report Sunday due to growing concern over the severity of his injuries.

"It seemed like a random thing," he said. "I've always felt safe in Cleveland. I didn't expect anything like this to happen. I don't want anything to happen to anyone else."

Neither victim was robbed. Both victims urged others walking downtown to travel in groups and remain alert to surroundings.

A Cleveland police spokesperson said a police detail works in the Flats every weekend in addition to regularly assigned units patrolling the area.