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Cleveland police adding patrols at recreation centers after latest shooting

2 dead in separate shootings in Cleveland
Gunning Rec Center
Posted at 9:39 PM, Sep 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-27 09:02:16-04

CLEVELAND — Cleveland police are investigating two separate shootings that left two men dead on Saturday.

Around 5 p.m., police said that a 19-year-old was shot multiple times in the 2700 block of East 117th Street. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The 19-year-old has been identified as Michael A Preston Jr., of Cleveland.

Police said a preliminary investigation reveals the man was driving down the street, when he stopped in front of a home. Police said the person responsible for the shooting approached the man's vehicle and started shooting.

An hour later, a 20-year-old man was shot and killed outside Gunning Recreation Center in the 16700 block of Puritas Avenue, police said.

According to police, the man was playing basketball at the rec center and walking towards the RTA station, when he was approached by two men with guns. The 20-year-old began running, when the men began shooting.

Police said the men responsible were wearing black ski masks and hooded sweatshirts.

This is the second shooting to happen near a recreation center in a week in Cleveland. A 12-year-old boy was shot outside the Portland-Outhwaite Recreation Center near East 46th Street and Outhwaite Avenue on Sept. 19.

“We are in a public safety health crisis,” Cleveland Ward 5 Councilwoman Delores Gray. “The gun violence around our rec centers, our communities and neighborhoods has become unbearable.”

The victims' names haven't been released, however Cleveland police said they are adding extra patrols at area rec centers as a result to this latest shooting.

“Now we don’t know where our kids should go,” Gray added. “We as adults don’t know where to go. We fear our kids leaving the house going to a rec center because we don’t know where the next shootout is going to be.”

Gray said there's no simple solution, but plans to meet with local mayors, police, pastors and other community leaders to align everyone together to stop this generational problem.

"The sad part is we don’t know how to save our children," she added.

Cleveland Councilman Blaine Griffin chairs the city’s safety committee and said the solution to break this cycle is right in front of us.

"Most of the crime taking place on these devices [points to his phone]," he said. "It’s not like these are crimes of opportunity, these are crimes happening on social media. We have to do a better job to give parents the tools to monitor what’s happening on social media. We really have to do a better job at really trying to deal with the root causes, and until we deal with these root causes, we’re going to have a problem with this violence in the city."

Griffin added if more shootings take place at rec centers, the next step is clear.

"Once somebody does commit a crime at one of these rec centers, we need the entire community to show up at these court proceedings to make it clear: you will be held accountable and we will be there at these court cases to make sure you are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," he said.

No arrests have been made. The shootings remain under investigation.

Crimestoppers is offering a $5,000 reward for any information leading to the arrests of the people responsible for these shootings.

RELATED: 12-year-old in critical condition after shooting near recreation center

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