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

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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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