AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – A stunned community came together Friday night for an emotional vigil remembering a high school student athlete who investigators say was beaten to death near the I Promise School in Akron.
More than 100 people quietly filed onto the Firestoen Falcons’ baseball field, trying to comfort one another as they remembered 17-year-old Ethan Liming.
Liming was with a group of friends who pulled into the school parking lot, police said. Shortly after arriving, the victim and his friends became involved in a fight with at least three other males who were already on the property playing basketball.
During the ordeal, the victim was knocked unconscious and brutally assaulted, police said.
“After he was assaulted and injured and on the ground, the assault continued, based on the investigation, so that’s where we find that it’s very troubling,” said Lt. Michael Miller.
A collections was started for the family at Edgar’s Restaurant on Nome Avenue in Akron.
“I saw him probably an hour beforehand. Just heart wrenching. I actually have a few employees who had to take some time off,” said Edgar’s Restaurant general manager Sarah White.
They were devastated over such a senseless act of violence, White said.
“He was such a great kid, always smiling and he wanted to be a lawyer when he grew up and so active in sports,” White said.
Akron Public Schools called Liming a “rising senior” and “student leader” at Firestone Community Learning Center.
“The death of a student affects all of Akron Public Schools. Ethan’s passing is, sadly, one of many we have experienced during this school year. May we all pause a moment from our daily pressures to give thanks for the lives of these children. May we forever find ways to keep our memories of them alive. Each of these losses reminds us about how precious, and sometimes fleeting, life can be,” the district said in a statement.
LeBron James, who opened the I Promise School with the Akron Public School District, also offered condolences to the family and is asking people to “pray for our community,” saying the school campus is safe and secure while people ask for the public’s help finding the suspects.
“We want people to examine their mind’s hearts and consciousness to please consider contacting the police department. IT DID not have to escalate like this,” Lt. Miller said.
Back at the vigil, the balloons are school colors for Ethan, sending a message for their lost friend.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Akron Police Department Detective Bureau at 330-375-2490 or the Summit County Crimestoppers at 330-434-COPS. You can also text TIPSCO with your tips to 274637.
Donations are being accepting at Edgar’s Restaurant and on a GoFundMe page.