CLEVELAND — A 22-year-old woman was shot twice Monday night during a carjacking in the heart of Cleveland's Little Italy neighborhood.
It happened just before 10 p.m. near Random and Mayfield roads by Tony Brush Park.
According to a Cleveland police report, the woman was standing outside her car preparing to remove some groceries when an unknown male approached her, demanded her keys and brandished a gun.
The woman told police that the man "asked her if she needed anything out of her car before he took off," but she didn't believe he was holding a real gun and tried to grab her keys. The male fired the weapon and she was struck twice—once in the ribs and once in the leg, the report said.
An off-duty Case Western Reserve University police officer administered first aid to the woman. Police didn't say the woman's condition but did indicate that the bullets went "through and through."
After the shooting, the male fled the scene in the woman's 2019 Volkswagen Jetta. Police searched the area but were unable to locate the shooter or the woman's car.
According to police, this was the fourth carjacking reported in Little Italy in recent weeks.
Case Western Reserve University said 3 of the victims were students and in a statement said there is an urgent need to increase public safety efforts in the area of Little Italy. University Circle Police and Case Western Reserve University Police will be increasing patrols in the area, to assist Cleveland Police.
Police said they are looking for teenage boys who are using a black gun with a green laser on it.
All of the victims have been younger females.
Police believe all of the carjackings are connected.
It's shaken up people who live work and play in the area, as it's not one that sees a lot of violent crime.
"There’s the old timers that have lived here their whole lives and there’s the new people that have moved in the last so many years and there’s a mix of students, so there’s a wide range of people living in the area," said Raymond Kristosik, the executive director of Little Italy Redevelopment. "I think we are just the area that these young kids are doing these car jackings. Overall, I think the area in general is very safe."
Ward 6 Councilman Blaine A. Griffin said the community is working together and is confident the perpetrators will be caught. He said the number one priority moving forward is to make sure people know violent acts are not tolerated and criminals will be held accountable.
"A lot of people here are old school and they’re going to have eyes and ears on the ground, the restaurant owners, the stakeholders," he said. Safety is the most important thing that residents have on their mind. In this city, whenever you have these senseless acts of crime it’s a blemish, not just on this neighborhood, but the entire city and I dare to say the entire region."
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 216-623-5318.
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