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Community mural project honors memory of teen gunned down outside Akron store

Posted at 5:34 PM, Jul 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-19 23:21:03-04

AKRON, Ohio — Dozens of Akron residents arrived last weekend to participate in a community mural project.

Last summer, Ty'Ron Phelps, an Akron teen, was gunned down outside the Open Pantry convenience store last summer. The space was the center of plenty of trouble.

"Ty'Ron, he was a good boy. He had just turned 15 years old,” said Ty’Ron’s father, Rod Averiett. "He shared his 15 years on earth with a lot of people."

"We all just need to stick together,” said Ty’Ron’s mother, Shelonda Phelps.

Akron is undergoing a makeover.

"You don't like somebody, just leave it be. You ain't gotta go kill someone,” said Phelps.

Phelps appreciates the transformation.

"It'll give me some sense of peace as I’m riding down this street,” said Phelps.

Her son is immortalized on the walls of Open Pantry.

Her community is answering the call to action from a local high school PTA, to transform the place her son died.

It took his death to encourage this neighborhood to live.

"I just wish that everybody stopped the violence and nonsense. Because you're hurting other people and you're hurting yourself,” said Phelps.

This story is part of A Better Land, an ongoing series that investigates Northeast Ohio's deep-seated systemic problems. Additionally, it puts a spotlight on the community heroes fighting for positive change in Cleveland and throughout the region. If you have an idea for A Better Land story, tell us here.