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Cleveland foster father calls for better library security after 19-year-old he cared for is shot and killed

Posted at 9:53 PM, Jul 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-31 09:52:35-04

CLEVELAND — Ralph Dempsey is a Cleveland foster father who is demanding security be examined and improved at all city libraries, after 19-year-old Brandon Cutnoe, was shot and killed at the South Brooklyn Branch on July 23.

Dempsey cared for Cutnoe at his home with the help of Adoption Network Cleveland, said Cutnoe left his home and was on his way to see his girl friend when the attack took place.

Dempsey told News 5 he questions if the library had security and working metal detectors on the scene the night his foster son was shot.

“So there was nobody there to protect these kids in the library, this is the second shooting that’s happened in the same library,” Dempsey said.

“The library should have security, they should have working metal detectors, period. And there’s too many other kids in there that could have gotten hurt at the same time.”

Dempsey, who has been a foster father for 20 years and has six foster children, told News 5 Cutnoe was one of the best children he ever cared for at his home.

"I love him. I miss him. I find myself calling for him to come and eat,” Dempsey said

“I never had an issue with Brandon, if I told him to do something, he was on it 1-2-3. He was really caring.”

Adoption Network Cleveland Training Coordinator Julius Jackson told News 5 many more foster fathers like Dempsey are needed, especially since more than 2,000 children are on the Cuyahoga County adoption waiting list.

“We have way too many kids on the streets, too many kids waiting for foster care that need the help, don’t know where to get the help,” Jackson said.

“Kids just need to have stability, somebody that cares for them, somebody that keeps them in place, somebody that shows them direction, to help them to where they need to be.”

An Paul Sender, 18, is charged with aggravated murder, according to court documents, along with a 16-year-old who was turned in by his family last week.

Sender was apprehended in the 4300 block of West 47th Street at approximately 8 p.m. on July 28.

Officers responded to the library at 4303 Pearl Road to find Cutnoe with multiple gunshot wounds inside the library. Officers and EMS provided first aid to Cutnoe, who was taken to a nearby hospital where he died from his injuries.

A 16-year-old allegedly involved in the shooting was turned in to the Juvenile Detention Center last week by family. The teen is charged with aggravated murder, murder, aggravated robbery and felonious assault, according to court documents.

The teen is not being named at this time because he is a juvenile.

Meanwhile, Dempsey said he's now in the process of collecting funds to create an even larger foster home in memory of Brandon.

“I love him, and he won’t be forgotten, and if I can do anything, I’m going to carry on his name," Dempsey said.

"And I will open Brandon’s home, in honor of him, and I’ll take in more kids just like him."