East Cleveland gang-related homicide has Police ready to activate gang task force

Police Athletic League is key early outreach
Posted at 11:54 PM, Jun 13, 2017

East Cleveland Police are looking into key leads that they hope will help them make an arrest in the gang-related shooting of 17-year-old Ben Martin.

Investigators report Martin was shot and killed in an alley that runs next to Superior Avenue on June 12, just after 3 PM.

Police said the suspect dropped his cell phone while running from the scene, and investigators are hoping the phone will provide critical evidence.

East Cleveland Police Chief Michael Cardilli said the shooting points to the importance of a multi-jurisdictional gang task force that will be launched by his department this summer.

Cardilli said the task force will get significant assistance from the Ohio Highway Patrol, the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Cardilli explained the East Cleveland Police Athletic League is also critical community outreach in helping to stop the cycle of gang related violence.

"It's a daily struggle," said Cardilli.  "It is very difficult to get into their inner circles to have an impact."

"But through our city youth programs we try to get them as young as we can, because if we make that impact on them as young as we can, we can break the barrier between the police and them."

Police did obtain a hazy picture of the suspect from his cell phone dropped at the murder scene.

Investigators are asking anyone with information about the murder of 17-year-old Ben Martin to please come forward.