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Family of 4-year-old girl shot and killed in Akron calls for justice

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Posted at 10:53 PM, Jul 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-11 08:40:55-04

AKRON, Ohio — The devastated family of 4-year-old Journei Tolbert is calling for witnesses to come forward and for justice after the precious little girl was shot and killed Friday night in Akron.

Gloria Beasley, a great grandmother, said Journei was sweet, playful and happy.

"She was a very lovely girl. It's so sad what happened to her, so sad. I can't imagine how her mom feels," Beasley said.

Dozens of people had gathered for a vigil and balloon release along Princeton Avenue to honor a teen who was killed last year.

But around 9:15 p.m., shots were fired into the crowd, killing the girl and 40-year-old Johnny Gaiter.

Lt. Michael Miller said the investigation has revealed that bullets came from at least three different guns.

"I don't have an exact count, but I'm told dozens of shots fired, multiple shell casings possibly from different calibers," Miller said.

The tragedy is also touching families connected to Jayland Walker who was shot and killed by Akron police on June 27.

His death has sparked numerous protests and cries for justice in a city dealing with a lot of tension.

Journei's family confirmed the little girl was the niece of Jaymeshia Beasley. She was Walker's fiancee.

In May, Jaymeisha Beasley was killed by a hit-and-run driver on I-71 north of Cincinnati.

"The only thing I can say right now is we're drowning in pain right now. The biggest words I can ever use, my family is hurting," Gloria Beasley said.

No one has been arrested for the double murder, but police believe several witnesses saw the shooter run away. Investigators and Journei's family are urging those witnesses to come forward.

"Somebody needs to come forward because somebody seen the shooter," said Cynthia Travis, a great aunt.

"Somebody has to know something. I'm sure somebody will come forth. I'm sure. I hope," Gloria Beasley added.

Summit County Crimestoppers is now offering a reward up to $5,000 for information that solves the deadly shooting.

Tipsters can remain anonymous when calling 330-434-COPS.

In the meantime, loved ones will keep pushing for justice for Journei.

"She's a beautiful little girl. It should have never happened to her and whoever did it needs to pay," Gloria Beasely said.