AKRON, Ohio — The University of Akron Board of Trustees is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the person or persons responsible for the death of UA student Maya McFetridge.
The reward was announced at a Tuesday afternoon press conference attended by President Gary Miller, Board of Trustees Chair Joseph Gingo, and several other university officials.
"It's difficult to find words to express our sympathy to her family and friends and our grief at the loss of life," Miller said
McFetridge, 18, a freshman from Berea, was shot early Sunday morning near the intersection of Kling and Wheeler streets just south of campus.
Police said a large fight broke and McFetridge was killed after multiple shots were fired. Two men, ages 25 and 22, were also wounded. The 25-year-old victim remained in critical condition at Cleveland Clinic Akron General.
Akron police are handling the investigation and didn't have any suspects as of Tuesday afternoon.
University of Akron Police Chief Dale Gooding said his department is helping with the case.
"We are assisting in any way that they request of us, helping them track down leads," Gooding said.
Miller said the university is taking immediate steps to make safety improvements.
"It's clear the university must take the lead in improving that area," Miller said.
UA is planning to hire more campus officers, but it's not clear how many or by when.
Miller said university leaders will also review its mutual agreement with Akron police to patrol the area while also bringing in additional security.
"We will immediately implement a contract with a private company for safety support services in the area, providing additional patrols and monitoring," he said.
Miller said the university has already committed $1 million for an enhanced camera system south of campus and will also work with local and state leaders to improve housing and partnerships with landlords.
At the request of the Board of Trustees, Miller stated he will come up with a long-term safety plan by the first of the year.
"I, and everyone here, is committed to doing whatever it takes to secure the safety of every person who comes to this university to learn, to work, or to visit," Miller said.
Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan released the following statement on her death:
“Last weekend’s shooting near the University of Akron campus was a terrible and avoidable tragedy. My prayers and deepest condolences are with the family of Maya McFetridge and the other victims of this violence. As a parent of college students, I deeply appreciate the fear that this event has caused through the U of A community. And as the Mayor of Akron, I mourn our 38th victim of senseless violence this year.
Just like across the country, Akron has seen a rise in murders over the past two years. We know that stemming this tide will require immediate action as well as long-term sustainable strategies. That’s why I have announced significant resources—both law enforcement and community-based—toward preventing crime and holding offenders accountable. This includes over $10 million in new spending under the American Rescue Plan Act, as outlined in our Five Point Framework to Reduce Community Violence. [akronohio.gov]
The root causes of this spike in murder run deep, and as we conveyed in the framework, it will take a whole-of-Akron approach to combat community violence. We know that increased police resources are only one piece of the equation. As reported, police officers were less than 100 yards away when this brazen shooting took place.
The University of Akron is a pivotal institution in our community. In recent years the City has partnered with the University to address issues of blight, safety, and overall community wellbeing around the campus, including the neighborhood south of Exchange. The pandemic has counteracted some of those efforts, but we are committed to deploying new and creative strategies in the face of these challenges.
We have been working for several months, with U of A police and County Executive Shapiro, on a plan to launch a network of 50 police cameras in this neighborhood to improve the sense of safety for residents and deter dangerous activity. This is a data-driven approach to enhancing safety, and the neighborhood south of Exchange has been chosen as the first pilot neighborhood for a program we hope to expand across our City. The legislation allocating funding toward this project is scheduled to be presented to Akron City Council on Monday.
We are also working to increase enforcement of housing code, nuisance and other ordinances in this area and hold landlords accountable for dangerous activities that occur on their properties. Finally, we will continue to deploy special targeted police details in this neighborhood and other areas where bars and parties congregate.
We welcome the University’s added investments in this area, which will complement the investments the City continues to make. These initiatives follow the model of other successful urban universities.
I will always fight for a strong, successful, independent University of Akron. The institution has endured significant challenges in the last decade. As a community, as students, faculty, parents, and stakeholders: now is not the time to pull back or turn away. Now is the time to do more to support the University in paving a path to sustainable, independent future. And the first priority must be safety – period. We are committed to being the University’s primary partner in that effort.”
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help pay for funeral expenses. CLICK HERE for more info.
Anyone with information on the deadly shooting is asked to call Summit County Crimestoppers at 330-434-COPS.