CLEVELAND – One man is dead, several people are hurt and a suspect is behind bars after a violent morning crime spree. It included a murder in the lobby of a senior citizen apartment complex and continued with more than a half-dozen carjackings and gunfire from Cleveland’s east side to the west side suburbs.
Police have arrested 27-year-old William Ted Jones for the crimes.
It began just before 9:00 a.m. Saturday, when gunfire erupted in the lobby of the Euclid Beach Villa Apartments on East 156th Street. Police found 21-year-old Jared Plesec shot in the head. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
“He’s my son’s best friend, they grew up since fourth grade,” said James Spigner, whose mother lives in the complex.
“I was sitting there watching TV, I heard the three gunshots,” said complex resident Chris Lincoln.
A man, who did not want to be identified, said he saw Jones and victim talking in the lobby just before the shooting.
“They were just standing there talking and the white guy was saying something about the Bible and he said something and I just got on the elevator and that was it,” explained the man.
Police say Jones ran to a gas station across the street and tried to carjack a woman.
“He’s a regular customer that frequents the store every day,” said one of the clerks, who saw it happen. She did not want to be identified.
“He shot at the first vehicle that was in the parking lot, attempted to take her car, but she managed to speed off before he could. Thank God no bullets hit her, it just shot out her windows,” she said.
The clerk says after the first woman got away, the suspect then ran over and carjacked another person who was pumping gas.
“He went to this lady’s car, pulled a gun on her, forced her to get out the car, threw her on the ground, sped off in her car,” she explained.
Investigators say Jones then drove to the East 72nd Street Marina where he carjacked another person.
Then around 9:30 a.m., Lakewood police responded to a carjacking at the Emerald Necklace Marina. They say Cleveland Metroparks Rangers were already treating a woman who had been shot in the leg after her car was stolen.
Police say Jones continued through the streets of Lakewood, dumping the woman’s car, and stealing a pickup that had the engine running.
Minutes later, officers found the pickup abandoned in front of the Marine Towers East building on Edgewater Drive. But they learned the same man knocked down and carjacked a 65-year old woman in the garage.
A short time later, the violence ended. Lakewood cruisers boxed in the 27-year-old man and arrested him.
“These people with these guns, they got to go,” said Spigner.
Lakewood officers handed Jones over to Cleveland police. Investigators say he could also be responsible for carjackings throughout the city of Cleveland the night before.