'It seemed like a war zone': 26 shot, 1 dead in street party shooting in Akron (2024)

A street party in Akron on Saturday night turned deadly, leaving 27 people injured by gunfire, including a 27-year-old man who is dead and two people who are in critical condition.

Akron police and fire officials and Mayor Shammas Malik held a press conference on Sunday evening. Police chief Brian Harding said the shooting appeared to be a drive-by at a birthday party at Kelly and 8th avenue that had spilled into the street.

Around 10 p.m., police said they went to a private residence where the birthday party was occurring. About 200 revelers were present, loud and shooting fireworks, and police asked them to disperse from the street because of motor vehicle traffic.

Between 10 p.m. and midnight, people returned to the party, say police, and a little after midnight, police said they started receiving calls about shots fired.

At the scene, police said they found two handguns and multiple types of shell casings, including casings from a rifle.

Watch city, police and fire and fire officials give their update Sunday night.

Akron city officials give news conference after 24 shot, 1 killed in overnight shooting

Police said there were at least 35 shell casings, which matches what a News 5 journalist on the scene saw just after the shooting.

Video captured by News 5 Photographer Mike Vielhaber shows police and 38 evidence markers on the ground.

Akron police processing evidence at overnight shooting scene

Police said they do not know the number of shooters at this time and have not identified any suspects.

No arrests have been made.

On Monday morning, authorities identified the 27-year-old fatal shooting victim as Lateris Cook of Akron.

The shooting happened in the neighborhood in East Akron where former Ward 5 Councilwoman Tara Mosley Weems lives.

“This whole street where the block party was,” Mosley Weems said.

Doorbell camera footage from Mosley Weems showed the moments leading up to the shooting, followed by the sound of gunshots. Warning: The video may be difficult to watch for some viewers.

Doorbell camera footage of Akron shooting

“It didn’t seem like Akron, it seemed like a war zone,” Mosley Weems said.

'It seemed like a war zone': 26 shot, 1 dead in street party shooting in Akron (1)

Mike Vielhaber | News 5 Cleveland

News 5's Tara Morgan spoke with former councilwoman Mosley Weems as well as the relative of multiple shooting victims who describe a festive night that turned chaotic.

24 shot, 1 dead in Akron overnight shooting

A witness at the scene, one of the few willing to talk in the aftermath of the shooting, told News 5 there were hundreds of people at the party enjoying themselves before shots were fired.

"Everyone was wearing white T-shirts; there were women on top of vehicles dancing. It looked like a scene from a spring break movie. It looked like everyone was having a good time. On our way back it was a completely different scene," the witness said.

Dispatchers received multiple 911 calls about numerous people being shot in the area, police said. Soon after, shooting victims started arriving at nearby hospitals.

Victims ranged in age from 19 to 43, police said.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, the hospital admitted nine patients early Sunday morning. One of those patients is in critical condition. The hospital was under a hard lockdown from just after midnight until around 3:30 a.m.

The Cleveland Clinic said on Sunday evening that one patient was admitted to a regular floor following surgery, another person is out of surgery and remains in the intensive care unit in critical condition, and three were treated in the emergency room with non-life-threatening injuries and have since been released.

Summa Health said its hospital received 15 patients this morning, 13 of whom had non-life-threatening injuries. Some of those individuals have already been released from the hospital. One person remains in critical condition.

News 5 Reporter Elizabeth VanMetre was at the hospital Sunday morning with an update.

City leaders, law enforcement, residents searching for answers

Akron’s mayor and police chief put out an urgent call for people to come forward about the deadly street party shooting.

With no suspects and few leads almost 24 hours later, city leaders made a desperate plea to the community and people who were at the party.

"There are people out there who know the person or persons involved, and I implore you to speak up,” Akron Mayor Shammas Malik said.

There is a $22,500 reward for information leading to the identification, arrest and successful prosecution of any suspects, the City of Akron said.

“The scene was littered with spent shell casings, mostly pistol caliber rounds,” said Akron Police Chief Brian Harding.

Harding said that based on the layout of the shell casings, it appeared to be a drive-by.

“We believe some individuals at the party may have returned fire,” Harding said.

“The sheer number of victims is shocking and deeply concerning,” said Malik.

Four of the wounded are related to Juanita Tucker.

"It was my nephew’s birthday party, and he has it every year, and obviously someone saw the chance to come and you know wreck things and hurt people,” Tucker said.

There’s now a concern for retaliation.

Malik said they hope to make an arrest soon before that happens.

"We have many detectives canvassing. We'll have additional patrols in the area and additional patrols as well partner with federal and state partners as well,” Harding said.

The chief and mayor said they are aware of community distrust in law enforcement and are working to develop relationships.

“That’s why we have multiple ways to remain anonymous we’re asking for the information,” Harding said.

City leaders said there may be more than 100 people who possibly witnessed what happened, and they’re hoping they will share what they saw.

Victims' families react

Security was tight at Akron General and Summa Health as they were flooded with patients.

“My heart dropped straight to my stomach,” Latika, the sister of one of the victims, said.

Latika’s sister was shot in the leg during the party.

“It’s just really devastating to hear because this is not something that she would really be into,” Latika said.

Latika and her mother were not able to get into the hospital to see her sister because of the lockdown.

“She’s just in a lot of pain; she couldn’t believe what happened,” Latika said.

She was briefly able to speak with her sister about the party before the shooting.

“She said they were just having a lot of fun. She’s not really sure why it happened,” Latika said.

Latika’s sister is expected to make a full recovery. A majority of families were able to come to the hospital and pick up their loved ones.

Mayor issues statement

Malik and Harding issued the following joint statement about the shooting on Sunday morning:

"This morning, our city is reeling after the devastation of senseless violence. With more than two dozen victims, the pain and trauma reverberates across all of Akron today as we search for answers. As with all acts of violence in our city, our hearts are with the victims and their loved ones.

We will bring those responsible to justice, and we need the help of our community to do that. For those who have information about this horrific shooting – we need you to speak up in order to prevent further violence and retaliation. This can be done anonymously.

Today, and in the days ahead, we will share more information about this horrific incident. Our city government and our Akron Police Department will continue to prioritize public safety as our number one concern as we aim to end gun violence in our community."

Condolences pour in

Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb

"My heart is with Akron today. I’m incredibly frustrated to see another community in pain—especially one so close to home. No one deserves this violence or to live in fear. I am confident that every resource is being deployed to bring those responsible to justice. This is yet another reminder that we must never give up the fight to get guns off our streets and out of the hands of harmful actors. But, I hope we can move past the reminders and onto action to finally put a stop to the senseless violence plaguing our communities. I am grateful to the first responders who acted without hesitation last night in Akron. My prayers are with every family member and community member affected."

The Cleveland Cavaliers

"We are horrified and devastated to learn of the tragic mass shooting that occurred in Akron, Ohio, in the early hours of this morning. Our hearts, love and support are with the individuals impacted by this horrific event. We also send our thoughts and prayers to their families, friends and the entire Akron community. These senseless acts of gun violence have no place in our community here in Northeast Ohio."

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

"My thoughts are with the victims and those affected by the horrific shooting in Akron. My office has been in contact with local officials and we are continuing to monitor the situation. Grateful for the first responders who arrived on the scene quickly."

U.S. Senator J.D. Vance (R-OH)

"Terrible situation in Akron last night. Our team is monitoring the situation and our hearts go out to everyone affected by this terrible shooting. We’re praying for everyone involved and that the death toll doesn’t rise."

U.S. Rep. Emilia Sykes (OH-13)

"I’m devastated to see this senseless act of violence in our Akron community. My heart and prayers are with the victims, their families, and our entire community who are attempting to make sense of a senseless act of violence. I’m grateful for the law enforcement officers who responded quickly to the scene, and I encourage anyone who may have any information to contact the authorities. Our community must work together to keep our neighborhoods safe from gun violence. My office will continue to monitor this situation as we learn more about this tragedy and will assist as needed."

U.S. Rep Shontel Brown (OH-11)

“On this Sunday, my prayers are with those injured, their families, and everyone harmed and hurt by this horrendous event in Akron. Thank you to all the first responders and medical professionals for your work last night.“The pain of gun violence continues to be felt across Northeast Ohio and it’s sickening to see another mass shooting so close to home. People can’t live like this, fearful they won’t be safe at a block party, church, school or work. While we await more details on this shooting, it is abundantly clear we have a national problem – and have had one for decades.“We need comprehensive gun safety legislation to strengthen background checks, close loopholes that keep allowing dangerous individuals to purchase guns, ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and more. We’ve got to make sure the new Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which I voted for, is fully implemented, so we can crack down on gun trafficking, and we’ve got to provide more resources to local communities wracked by gun violence.“We can solve this problem and we owe it to our constituents to listen to the bipartisan majority that wants legislative action.”

Community reaction

As the city and the victims begin recovering from the trauma brought on by the shooting, community members gathered to pray for peace and reflect on ways to curb violence in Akron and across the country.

Inside the Faith Place First Apostolic Church, hundreds gathered for worship and prayer.

“I think the church was somewhat traumatized by hearing that news,” said Vincent Peterson, Pastor of Providence Baptist Church. “He knows everything. He knew that last night was going to happen. But he also need to understand what's going to happen. And that we would need to lean the body of Christ together.”

The church event was planned in advance to bring in dozens of worship leaders from across the area to praise together, but last night's shooting had the prayers focused on the community. Adding the timing couldn’t be more right.

“People are not only getting hurt, but people are hurting, and pain and hurt that is not transformed just gets transmitted,” said Kemp Boyd, the executive director of Love Akron.

The shooting sent shockwaves throughout the community, especially affecting those like Boyd, who works to help Akron thrive.

“I don't want Akron just to be seen as a city that is full of violence, because I think there's a lot of great things going on in our city,” said Boyd.

But Boyd believes to bring impactful change, it'll take the masses.

“It has to be a collective effort across every sector in our community,” said Boyd.

Especially for those in the church, the sanctuary is a place where community members like Nicolette Decatur are finding their peace.

“This is where we get our strength, but the strength we get now is so we can go out there and do the work, the work is out there,” said Decatur.

And hope because they know together, they can help the city grow.

“So I believe after this, pastors are going to meet again, sooner than later because of this particular event. And we're going to see how we made some moves,” said Peterson.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact detectives at 330-375-2490 or Summit County Crime Stoppers at 330-434-COPS. You can also text your TIPSCO and a tip to 274637 or leave a tip online at the department's website by CLICKING HERE.

Editor's note 6/2/24: Police initially told us that there were 27 total victims, including the fatality. The news release from the mayor's office states the total number of victims is 25, including the person who died. Officials said it's because they double counted victims who left one hospital and went to another.

Editor's note 6/5/24: According to Akron Police Chief Brian Harding, the number of those wounded in the shooting has been changed to 27, including the 27-year-old man who died from his injuries. This echoes the original number police immediately provided on Sunday. That number was later changed to 25 people shot, including the fatality. Police now say the evolving scene at the shooting and the multiple hospital victims presented problems with the tally of total victims due to people going to one hospital and then leaving and heading to another one. Another person left after being triaged but showed back up later for treatment.

RELATED: Number of people wounded by gunfire at Akron street party shooting is now 27, including 1 fatality

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'It seemed like a war zone': 26 shot, 1 dead in street party shooting in Akron (2024)

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