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Family of teen killed at Akron Skate Park calls for justice

Police search for suspects in shooting of Zion Neal, $5,000 reward offered
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Posted at 6:15 PM, Dec 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-13 18:43:16-05

AKRON, Ohio — Marisa Williams can barely eat or sleep and she has nearly lost her voice as she deals with anguish following the death of her son, 19-year-old Zion Neal.

"He loved everybody. He helped me do everything," she said with tears streaming down her face.

Neal, a former Nordonia High School student who played junior varsity football a few years back, was shot and killed around 1 a.m. at Akron Skate Park on Derby Downs Drive. The park is owned by the city.

"People are hurting for no reason, just a senseless death for no reason," said Neal's cousin, La-Angel Williams.

According to Akron police, a group of at least six people gathered at the park, there was a fight and shots were fired, striking Neal.

An unidentified person drove the victim to Summa Health Barberton Hospital, which is nine miles from the park. The distance travelled for help when Neal was fighting his life angers his relatives.

"Why would you transport to Barberton if you were in a whole different location?" La-Angel Williams asked.

Neal's sister, Oahnesty Palmer, said she has received information naming possible suspects in the shooting.

Akron Police are looking into those details, but no one has been arrested for the crime, which was Akron's 42nd murder of 2022.

"Justice will be gotten for him for sure by any means. My brother will get his justice regardless and the streets talk," Palmer said.

Palmer said her brother recently started a job doing janitorial work at Amazon. He loved his nieces and singing and dancing.

"He loved music— super goofy— everything about him. He just loved laughing, dancing, making funny faces," she said.

The devastated family said they are now helping each other get through the tragedy as they try to comprehend how someone could live with themself after committing a murder.

"There's nothing. No argument is serious enough for you to lose your life over," Palmer said.

Relatives are urging anyone with information on the case to contact Akron police. They stressed it's critical to get "dangerous people" off the streets.

"Make it right. Make it right for his mother. Make it right for yourself. Make it right for whoever you pray to," La-Angel Williams said.

Summit County Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest and indictment in the homicide. Tipsters can remain anonymous when calling 330-434-COPS.

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