17 out of 32 Akron murders since 2016 remain unsolved, causing concern for families & councilwoman

Posted at 4:42 PM, Feb 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-01 17:11:27-05

Beatress Grundy lives a few blocks away from where her grandson was murdered in Akron and wonders if his killer will ever be identified.

"That's frustrating to me because I don't know who did it and nobody wants to talk to me," she said.

Raymond Grundy, 23, was shot in the head last September while standing on a front porch on Chittenden Street. He was transported to Summa Akron City Hospital where he died.

The images of her grandson on a hospital bed will stay with Beatress for the rest of her life.

"He never said a word. He never opened his eyes or anything. He was just there."

Since January of 2016, Akron police officers have responded to 32 homicide scenes. Raymond's murder is one of 17 cases that remains unsolved.

Ward 5, which includes sections of north and southeast Akron, experienced 10 of the murders-- more than any of the other 9 wards. Six of the Ward 5 murders have been solved.

Ward 5 Councilwoman Tara Mosley-Samples said she knows many of the families touched by the violence and wants more people to speak up and provide information to police.

"It seems like we're sort of kind of forgetting about these kids who have died at the hands of guns," Mosley-Samples said. "Clearly, we have a gun problem in this community."

Akron police explained there are many reasons why more than 50 percent of the murders are unsolved, including a lack of evidence and witnesses not giving good information.

Lt. Rick Edwards said a lack of manpower is not an issue. The department has about 30 detectives working violent crime cases.

Police also pointed out that Ward 5 has more violent assaults with weapons than any other ward. 347 felonious assault reports were taken in 2016. Ninety-three of them happened in Ward 5.

Mosley-Samples said she's hoping to curb the violence by taking steps to remove liquor licenses from as many as six "trouble spot" bars in the ward.

She's also hoping to convince city leaders to open a police substation in the neighborhood. However, she doesn't have a plan on how to pay for it at this point.

"Where there's a will, there's a way and there's a need for help in this community," she said. "If you know there's a police station a stone's throw away from you, you're gonna think twice about driving down one of these streets, shooting at somebody's house."

According to the most recent FBI statistics the national clearance rate for murders was 61.5 percent in 2015.