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Unsanctioned car meet leads to burnouts and bloodshed in west Akron

Posted at 5:39 PM, Jul 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-19 19:25:48-04

AKRON, Ohio — The Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office has released the identity of the 23-year-old man shot and killed at an impromptu car meet in west Akron on Sunday night. Officials say Marquis Sams died of multiple gunshot wounds after gunfire erupted at an unsanctioned car meet at the Hawkins Plaza shopping center parking lot.

Akron police were dispatched to the shopping center just after 9 o’clock on Sunday night after callers reported there were more than 100 people and 50 vehicles parked in the lot after businesses had closed. Callers reported multiple people were drag racing, doing burnouts and driving recklessly in the parking lot. As officers were on the way, officers reported hearing gunshots and people fleeing from the area. A few minutes later, Marquis Sams and another 17-year-old victim were dropped off at Cleveland Clinic Akron General Medical Center. Sams died at the hospital. The other victim remains in critical condition.

"It’s really unfortunate to even imagine how much worse this could have been,” said Akron Police Lt. Michael Miller. “There were so many people. We say 100 or more but it could have been in excess of 200 or more people. There was some advertisement on social media but there was no affiliation with a profit or non-profit group that sanctioned or organized the gathering. It was nothing more than a bunch of young folks getting together to show off their cars.”

Videos posted to social media show several cars doing extensive burnouts, enveloping the complex in a haze of white smoke. The parking lot on Monday afternoon was covered in hundreds of individual tracks. It is unclear what led up to the fatal shooting or how many individuals fired shots, Lt. Miller said. The impromptu car meets have caused similar issues in the past but none of which have ended in bloodshed.

“Someone in that crowd, someone in that group that was there, knows who the shooter is or was. We would like them to notify us. They can contact us anonymously,” Lt. Miller said. “We’ve had a few of these incidents that have popped up sporadically over the years. This summer in particular there have been a few calls about this location in the month of June alone. That location has been the subject of what we call a check and patrol.”

Resident Jevon Boyd lives near the shopping complex where the shooting occurred. Not only has he grown tired of the car meets but also the gun violence in his neighborhood.

“We have all this ignorance going on to the point where we had someone killed here last night. It’s out of ignorance,” Boyd said. “Parents are not raising their children. They don’t take responsibilities or know how to be a man.”

The incident remains under investigation. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Akron Police Department Detective Bureau at 330-375-2490 or 330-375-2TIP.

Callers may also contact Summit County Crimestoppers by calling 330-434-COPS. Callers can remain anonymous.