CLEVELAND — Kendra Harris is a Cleveland mother who is hoping security at nearly two dozen city recreation centers will soon be improved after she witnessed the aftermath of a Sept. 19 shooting that left a 12-year-old boy in critical condition and sent two others to the hospital.
Police report the shooting happened at around 8 p.m. near the Portland-Outhwaite Recreation Center on East 46th Street and Outhwaite Avenue. Police said the boy sustained multiple gunshot wounds and was transported to MetroHealth Medical Center.
Harris said the 12-year-old victim is a teammate with her children on the CMHA Renegades with the Cleveland Muny Football League, and said after the shooting, parents are calling for improved security outside Lonnie Burten Rec Center and Dwayne Browder Field.
“Having to scrape the blood up of a child, a teammate one of my kids is a problem for me," Harris said. "Something has to be done, we need more protection.”
“But who is the law for us, to protect us, while we’re doing something positive because we’re out here having a game. Kids playing, real live coaches, referees out here, who’s protecting us?"
“You know get together, make a plan and make a schedule, where we can be protected while we’re out here playing a game."
Cleveland Councilman and Safety Committee Chairman Blaine Griffin told News 5 he hopes to meet with the city safety director and try and coordinate a plan between CHMA and the city police department.
“We got to make sure that we have a security presence, we got to make sure we have a better partnership with CMHA," Griffin said.
“This is a time for action, this is a time to bring the full weight of city services around these centers and for this community.”
“This community has a right to make sure that they can play and enjoy themselves and be safe. We’re going to treat this as a public health approach, we’re going to identify the problem, we’re going to isolate the problem.”
News 5 also reached out to Cleveland police headquarters about its response to the recreation center shooting.
Meanwhile, Harris said Cleveland Muny Football families are sending out their support to all three shooting victims.
On Sept. 20 Cleveland police headquarters issued a statement on the 12-year-old's condition and it's security around city rec centers saying: "He is still in critical condition. We have increased special attention at rec centers and schools."
Cleveland police are asking anyone with information about the Sept. 19 shooting to please come forward and contact Cleveland police headquarters.
“This was a Sunday, regular kids out here playing doing what they’re going to do," Harris said. “Especially prayers for the family, because he’s fighting, he's strong, he’s 12-years-old and justice needs to be served.”