CLEVELAND — Cleveland police are working to track down the gunman that opened fire outside of a liquor store near downtown Tuesday night, sending at least six people to area hospitals with gunshot wounds. According to Councilwoman Delores Gray (Ward 5), one of her campaign volunteers, a 53-year-old woman, was one of the innocent bystanders injured in the shooting.
According to Cleveland police, officers were dispatched to a liquor store near East 28th Street and Cedar Avenue shortly after 8 p.m. on Tuesday. Officers reported there were multiple people injured both inside and outside of the store. Investigators found nearly 40 shell casings of at least two different calibers in two areas near the store. At least six people were taken to both Metro and University Hospitals for gunshot wounds. None of the victims sustained life-threatening injuries.
Gray said she had just dropped off her neighbor, who had also volunteered at the polls, on Tuesday night just minutes before the shooting.
“I just dropped her off and then when I went to drop somebody else off, I got a phone call 30 minutes later saying [she had been shot],” Gray said. “They were innocent bystanders going to the store, buying whatever they needed, standing outside and relaxing in their neighborhood.”
According to the police report, officers found three vehicles that had bullet holes. However, one of the vehicles, a Chevy Cobalt that had an obstructed VIN and didn’t have a license plate, was gone before investigators could process it. Investigators at the Real Time Crime Center were able to identify the suspect’s vehicle, a black Ford Explorer, as well as the gunmen, which police described as a heavy set man. Surveillance video at the liquor store was also collected.
Gray said Tuesday night’s shooting — like so so many others across the city — was entirely senseless.
“Me living in this community, I should be able to walk out my door without looking behind my back. I should be able to walk out my door and hear a car backfire and not have to duck. I should be able to walk out my door and walk down the street and not worry if somebody is going to shoot me,” Gray said. “That could have been my uncle. That could have been my auntie. That could have been my son. That could have been my nephew. That could have been my niece. I’m looking at a person that I know did it, where does that put me at with myself, my community, and my family? Whose life do I save?”
Gray, who lives just blocks away from where the shooting happened, emphatically implored people with information on the shooting to contact Cleveland police. Tipsters can also remain anonymous.
“This is our community. This is where I live. I don’t plan on running from it, running away from it. I’m planning on living where I choose to live. We have to look at each other and say how are we going to stop this to save each other,” Gray said. “We have to make that anonymous phone call. We don’t have to tell our friend next door. We don’t have to tell our family that we did it. You can pick up that phone, call yourself, and never tell a soul that you did.”