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Man, 18, with developmental disabilities shot and killed in Cleveland after leaving work at Rally's

Posted at 10:41 AM, Dec 31, 2017
and last updated 2018-01-02 08:51:41-05

Cleveland police are looking for the gunman who shot and killed an 18-year-old man shortly after he left work at Rally's early Sunday morning. 

Police responded to the area of East 65th Street and Kenyon Avenue around 3:30 a.m. for a report of a man with some type of head trauma. 

EMS transported 18-year-old Andy Hart to MetroHealth Medical Center where it was determined he had been shot. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. 

Police say Hart had recently left work at a nearby Rally's on Broadway Ave.

Authorities say the man also shoveled snow as a form of employment and a shovel was found at the scene. 

"I don’t understand why anybody would do this to him," said Qdera Hood, general manager of Rally's. She said she hired Hart because of his strong work ethic.

"The last thing he said was, 'I love you,' which he usually says to everybody," said co-worker Lauren Williams. "Very caring, he lets you know that he cares about you."

Hart was developmentally challenged and lived in a nearby group home for people with mental and developmental disabilities. The group home owner told News 5 that Hart was well-loved and his loss has devastated everyone in the neighborhood.

"Always happy, always laughing," said neighbor Chris Oatman. "It me to tears, it really did. I don’t know who would do something like that to him."

The homicide unit is investigating. Police said it doesn't appear anything was stolen from Hart, but it is difficult to be certain without any witnesses. A suspect description is not available.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 216-623-5464.

Hart's death marked the last homicide in 2017 in Cleveland.

Just a few miles from the Pennsylvania border, Andy's sister, Paige Johnson, is thinking about one of Cleveland’s final violent acts of 2017. 

"It was really hard," said Paige. "I'd just woke up and I received a phone call, and it was devastating."

Paige’s relationship with her brother, Andy Hart, relied on their telephones. 

Paige lives with her dad in Ashtabula. Andy was at a group home in Cleveland, Paige says, because it was the only way to get away from their abusive mother. Constantly trying to make ends meet meant getting together in person was rare. 

"No matter what, every time I talked to him he  as always like, ‘love you, love you love you," said Paige. "He wouldn't let you hang up the phone unless he told you he loved you.”

Andy’s Aunt, Crystal, says those calls could come at all hours of the day or night. She and her husband wanted to help when child services got involved, but their hands were tied.
Paige says their mom now lives in Michigan and a group home was one of Andy’s last options. 

"Now it’s frustrating because if the situation is different and child services would have stepped in, it’s a different situation," said Crystal.

So they were left to keep in touch through the phone that now, stays silent.