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18-year-old fatally shot by man in ski mask outside Earle B. Turner Recreation Center in Cleveland

Assailant is still at large, police say
Posted at 11:39 AM, Dec 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-07 18:35:57-05

CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Division of Police is investigating the death of a teen who was shot and killed outside the Earle B. Turner Recreation Center Tuesday night.

The recreation center is located at 11300 Miles Ave., in the city's Union-Miles Park neighborhood.

According to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office, the victim is an 18-year-old man from Bedford. Police said he had been shot multiple times.

Police said a preliminary investigation indicates the teen had just exited the recreation center when he was shot in the parking lot by an unknown man wearing a black hoodie and ski mask.

“We just have to stop killing each other,” said A. Wilson, a visitor at Earle B. Turner Recreation Center. “That’s it, man. It’s not cool at all. It’s not right, man.”

Devastation fills the hearts of many like 22-year-old A. Wilson, who’s been coming to Earle B. Turner Recreation Center his entire life.

“It’s my childhood. Like I was raised up here ever since I was a little kid, hooping here, so basically, I know everybody,” said Wilson.

While Wilson says he didn’t know the 18-year-old who died last night, he says he’s still sad to learn another life is now gone too soon.

“As this generation we’re getting killed now, it’s not cool at all. Like I remember back in the days people used to just fight, but now it’s like just too much, and we keep losing our Black people,” said Wilson.

What makes this news even more heartbreaking is the incident happened outside a place designed to keep kids and teens safe.

“I’m scared to come up here and stuff, like I remember last year I didn’t come here for a long time because you know, I heard about a lot of gun violence,” said Wilson.

This reality, teens like Wilson face, is one Cleveland Ward 2 City Councilman Kevin Bishop says the city has been working to address.

“City Council has gone through great lengths to make this a safe space by putting cameras in, armed security, and we just don’t expect this type of incident to take place in our rec centers,” said Bishop.

The conversation has even expanded to include the recreation center’s own namesake because he understands how important this space is for the community.

“We’re actually working with the city, we’re working with the councilman, we’re working with a lot of different organizations to be part of developing a plan to deal with gun violence,” said Earle B. Turner.

After the shooting, the assailant ran from the area and is still at large.

No further information has been released.

“A young person being shot and a young person shooting somebody, now it’s actually two lives that are gone,” said Turner. “We have to reduce the gun violence in the city of Cleveland amongst our young people that are just so young taking each other’s life.”

Bishop issued the following statement Wednesday morning regarding the incident:

"My heart is heavy hearing about the death of this young man outside the Earle B. Turner Recreation Center, which is in my ward. It is and should be a gathering place for youth, families, seniors and more to come together. We won’t let that be taken away.

Council has taken steps to make recreation centers across the city safe spaces. There are cameras and safety personnel. The Turner rec center is a safe space and offers residents of all ages numerous activities and programs including the new tech center. This is a horrible event, but it is an aberration.

While the young man was from Bedford, I understand he was a visitor to the center for years. This shooting is unacceptable and inexcusable and my condolences to the family and friends of the victim.

Why? That’s my question to the shooter or shooters. Why take a life and devastate families, which will include yours when you are arrested and sent to prison for a senseless murder? There has to be a better way."

Anyone with any information about the shooting is asked to call Cleveland Police at 216-623-5464 or CrimeStoppers at 216-25-CRIME. Reward money is available.

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