AKRON, OH — Children in Akron are dying one after another.
The Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office reports four children, all under the age of 18, have been killed since June and five total so far this year. Their cases were all ruled homicides.
“It’s gone too far you know enough is enough,” said Akron City Council President Margo Sommerville, president-Ward 3. “Our communities need restoration because they’re being destroyed, and gun violence is doing just that.”
The death toll includes 8-year-old Mikayla Pickett who was shot at a home on Roselle Avenue Friday night. Akron police say a bullet pierced her back. She died later at the hospital.
“It’s numbing. You can’t put that into words,” said Lt. Michael Miller, Akron Police Spokesperson.
The 911 calls came in just before midnight. Officers say a group of teens were hanging out at the home at the time. When they arrived, they say they found Pickett’s body in the back yard. Investigators believe the shooters fired multiple shots from outside. Miller says conversations are already underway to increase and improve patrol throughout the city.
“It’s priority one for us. Violent crime in general, but certainly any crime that involves a child,” Miller said. “It’s something that has our full attention.”
Just hours before that shooting, a vigil was taking place just a few miles away hosted by a group called “Just a dad from Akron.” Their ongoing message of peace was punctuated by yet another act of violence.
“I can’t imagine, like the family of eight-year-old girl, it just gives me the chills like and makes me like very upset for real,” said founder Kenny Lambert.
Pickett’s case has now been added to the list of others still under investigation.
“I’ve known some of these families, so you know being a mother myself I cannot imagine, but that’s what gun violence is doing. It’s making it difficult for people to live in their communities, to enjoy the neighborhoods. They’re afraid to sit on their porches. They’re afraid to have their children being outside to play just because they’re not sure who might drive up the block and begin to spray bullets,” said Sommerville. “We’ve got to begin to solve some of these unsolved murders, but we cannot do that without the help of the community.”
Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Akron Police Department Detective Bureau at 330-375-2490 or 330-375-2Tip.