AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – Akron police are trying to piece together yet another heartbreaking tragedy. They are searching for the person or persons who shot into a crowd, killing both a four-year-old girl and a 40-year-old man.
A shell casing remains in the parking lot behind an apartment building on Princeton Street in Akron, a reminder of the violence Friday night that took the life of four-year-old Journei Tolbert and 40-year-old Johnny Gaiter, both from Akron.
According to investigators, police were called around 9:15 p.m. They say there was a “celebratory gathering” in a nearby parking lot when one or more people fired shots into the crowd. SKYFOX was overhead shortly after the shooting. Officers say when they arrived, they found a chaotic scene.
Journei was taken to Akron Children’s Hospital where she was pronounced dead. Johnny Gaiter was taken to Cleveland Clinic Akron General Medical Center in grave condition and died early Saturday morning.
We are told the little girl’s family is understandably too distraught to talk about the incident. Gaiter’s family provided FOX 8 with photos and told us he has two daughters. Off-camera, they told us they consider him a hero, saying he was killed while pushing people out of the way of the gunfire.
Akron detectives say they are still working to figure out the circumstances and motive surrounding the shooting.
So far, police have not arrested anyone in the case.
Anyone with information on the shooting is urged to call the Akron Police Department Detective Bureau at 330-375-2490 or the Summit County Crimestoppers at 330-434-COPS. Text TIPSCO with your tips to 274637. Callers can remain anonymous.