Witnesses who called 911 told dispatchers that the gunman had been lurking around the park for about 10 minutes before the shooting.
Akron Police Lt. Mike Miller told Fox 8, “That person is very brazen. I’m sure that there were a half dozen people or more in the park at that time, so just to do it in broad daylight, definitely underscores the brazen nature of this crime.”
The victim, identified as 58-year-old Randall Lee Proctor, was taken to Akron City Hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later. Randall Proctor listed his address as the “Haven of Rest Rescue Mission,” a homeless shelter near the park.
“No person deserves this type of outcome, this type of tragedy. It’s very senseless in that regard. We don’t have a specific reason and that’s one of the things the detectives are working to determine, the circumstances leading up to the incident. It appears that it’s unprovoked at this time, the attack was unprovoked,” said Lt. Miller.
Those who work with the homeless community in Akron say Grace Park is well known as a hang-out for the homeless, and they are concerned that Randall Proctor may have been targeted.
“These people are sitting ducks. These people are roaming the streets. They are living in tents. They’re unsheltered. There is no way to hide as a homeless person. So, if this becomes a recurring form of homeless hate, this would be a tragedy,” said homeless advocate Sage Lewis.
Investigators are now checking surveillance cameras in the area around Grace Park to see if they may have captured any images of the killer.
Randall Proctor is the 21st person murdered in Akron so far in 2021. In all of 2020, there were 50 murder victims.
“It’s hard to point to one specific thing that’s causing it. You know a lot of people talk about Covid, the impact. You know the strain that the pandemic has had, but I don’t know if there’s one characteristic or attribute you can associate with this. It’s really a reflection of where cities like ours are,” said Lt. Miller. “Other cities across the country have seen an uptick in crime as well.”
Anyone with information that will help investigators identify the suspect who killed Randall Proctor, is asked to call Akron police or Summit County Crimestoppers.