CLEVELAND — Cleveland police are looking leads in trying to solve the cities first homicide of 2022, after a 30-year-old man was shot and killed in front on a Kinsman Road apartment building on New Year's Day.
Investigators say Darius Sikes Jr. was killed at 3:55 a.m., and told News 5 they are still searching for suspects. Cleveland police issued the following statement in connection with the case:
"Officers arrived on scene and found EMS rendering aid to a 30yr old male who had suffered multiple GSWs to the body. The 30yr old male was pronounced deceased.
Members of the Homicide Unit responded for investigation. Preliminary investigation reveals that multiple people were outside of an illegal bar when a fight broke out.
At some point gunfire was exchanged and the victim was struck multiple times. A person of interest has not been identified.
This matter remains under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact investigators at 216-623-5464. Anonymous information can be provided by calling CrimeStoppers at 216-25-CRIME and a cash reward of up to $5000 may be available."
Residents living in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood, like Wenona Johnson, told News 5 they're tired of the constant gunfire and late night parties taking place inside and outside of the Kinsman Road apartment building.
“Hundreds of cars, literally, and they even parked in my neighbor’s yard one time,” Johnson said. “You see alcohol bottles. I get up at 7 in the morning to go to work, and guess what, they’re out here partying,”
Johnson continued, “We hear these gun shots, I literally have to jump on the floor, I’m in my living room, I’m on the floor afraid because you don’t know if the bullets are going to come through my house. For just for a couple of bucks they are making, whatever they’re doing, it’s not good for the neighborhood at all.”
Johnny Walker, owner of Kinsman Outlet Appliances, just a few door down from the apartment building, told News 5 more must be done to stop the repeated after-hours parties.
"Hopefully, hopefully this doesn’t happen again, that’s all I can say," Walker said. "You know, guns and alcohol don’t mix, simple as that. They’ve been coming to this place for a long time, but never really permanently closing it down. Now maybe something different will happen down here.”
News 5 left voicemail messages for the apartment building owner, but we're still waiting for a response.
Zach Reed, who is a Mt. Pleasant resident and a former Cleveland Councilman, told News 5 the city should have responded more quickly to the issues taking place at the apartment building.
"Had we done our jobs, had the people at city hall, the last administration done their job, this 30-year-old man would be alive today, because would have shut this after-hours joint down,” Reed said. “So you just wonder what the people are seeing downtown that could help neighborhoods like Mt. Pleasant, Lee-Harvard, to stop this violence in our community. Think about it, this is the first person killed in 2022, that could have been prevented. This is not going to be accepted in our communities anymore, that’s what we need to go back to, we need to go back to old school policing in our wards and in our communities, and I guarantee if we did that, our neighborhoods would be safer.”
Meanwhile, Cleveland Councilman Joe Jones responded to our story, pledged to take action, and told News 5 he reported the problem apartment building to Cleveland police Fourth District headquarters back in August 2021.