CLEVELAND — Tiscisia Cole is a Cleveland mother of four children who explained she's on edge nearly every time she visits a city gas station to fill up her car.
Cole was left saddened by the shooting death of a 19-year-old man at the Mobile gas station at Euclid Avenue and East 153rd Street on Memorial Day. East Cleveland detectives are still searching for suspects in the shooting that took place just before 6 p.m.
She said she hopes gas stations in Cleveland and East Cleveland will make more security efforts at their locations.
“Why owners aren’t taking the security factor seriously, why do they feel like they can handle it themselves," Cole said. “When you’re walking in there, everybody is safe behind that counter but us, that’s all I can tell you.”
“You’re responsible for what happens, in my opinion, on your premises, within your premises, as a result of one coming to your businesses."
“Gas stations are operating like clubs to me, they look like clubs. As a mom, I hope and pray no mothers are leaving their children in the car.”
Black on Black Crime Inc. President Al Porter told News 5 his organization is prepared to take part in more safety marches and protests at gas stations that have chronic violence issues.
“These gas stations need to hire more private security," Porter said. "Don’t tell me that the gas stations can’t afford it, some of these gas stations are open 24-hours a day.”
“Certain organizations are getting to a point where we’re looking at boycotting gas stations that have chronic problems.”
A gas station safety protest organized by BrickHouse Wellness Women's Empowerment CEO Delores Gray in Oct. 2020 produced results at Gas USA at E. 123 and St. Clair Avenue, with the gas station owner adding security, lighting and safety signage.
Ward 8 Cleveland Councilman Michael Polensek said additional security measures are needed, but said unless problem locations have their liquor licenses challenged, real change will likely not take place.
“We need more police on the street, we need more cameras, the security cameras we’ve been asking for and begging for, for over two years," Polensek said.
“Unless the State of Ohio Liquor Enforcement Control really steps up to the plate and works with Cleveland police, we’re not going to see any improvement in these establishments, that’s a given.”
News 5 reached out to the owner of the East Cleveland gas station to get his thoughts on security at his location, we're still waiting for a response.
East Cleveland police are asking if you were in the area of 15317 Euclid Avenue (Mobile Gas) and have any information relative to the investigation, please contact the East Cleveland Detective Bureau at (216)-681-2162.
Meanwhile, Cole said additional gas station security at city locations can't come soon enough.
“We’re vulnerable when you have children, we’re more vulnerable," Cole said. “Loitering laws and security would help. It would help mothers like me, and elderly people.”