CLEVELAND — A devastated community gathered together to remember a beloved businessman who was beaten to death inside his long-time establishment. Meanwhile, Cleveland police continue to search for his killer, who remains on the run.
Dozens of people escaped the pouring rain under a tent Wednesday evening, to remember 74-year-old Larry Manno. The vigil was held in front of the landscaping company he operated on Buckeye Road in Cleveland for nearly 50 years.
"He was a very caring person. He loved his work, he loved his job and he loved his neighborhood," said one neighbor at the vigil.
Manno was attacked inside his landscaping business on September 16. He remained in intensive care for several weeks being treated for various injuries including broken ribs, a collapsed lung and a head injury. He died late last week.
Longtime friend and employee Susan Sebcik addressed the crowd, holding Manno's dog named "Little Man."
"I was the person who came in as Larry was being beaten and I just hope that they find the individual and we can bring him to justice," said Susan Sebcik
Manno touched people in and outside of the Buckeye-Shaker neighborhood, where residents say he was dedicated to keeping his community safe and close-knit.
"I never felt unsafe here and I don’t want to...I think Larry's legacy is one of community and safety and togetherness," said another resident.
"To me, this is a testimony how Larry reached out to all manner of folks, didn't matter if you're white, didn't matter if you were black, didn't matter if you were male, female, young, old," said Bob Render, with the East 128th Block Club Association.
"As time goes on, it'll become more and more important for them to know that he was loved by everybody," said Manno’s brother-in-law Bob Allen.
Manno's family and friends also hope the person who took his life will soon be caught.
"These senseless acts of violence are not exclusive and are not indicative of the spirit of Buckeye...this kind of showing and outpouring of love and resiliency, that's what's indicative of this neighborhood," said another life-long resident.
Neighbors say Manno would work from sun up to sundown, six or seven days a week.
The employee who found Manno told Fox 8 that she confronted a young man who was inside at the time. When she asked him what was going on, she says he told her that he did not know and ran away.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Cleveland police. Crimestoppers of Cuyahoga County is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of a suspect.