Wednesday, Apr 25, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Police & Fire

The Blade looks at solutions to combating Toledo's gangs


Roshawn Jones, center, owner of Soul City Boxing and Wrestling gym trains one of his pupils during a Monday night session.

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Part three of a four-part series

It didn't matter that the shooter wasn't looking for her sons.

Her youngest – only 11 years old – was sitting on the sidewalk next to his bicycle.

When a red sport-utility vehicle made a quick turn onto Norwood Avenue, the boy and his twin half-brothers saw a man, a black T-shirt pulled over his face, point a gun out of the passenger-side window.

It didn't matter that her boys weren't the target.

Police recovered 12 shell casings from the scene -- just west of downtown Toledo across I-75. Two men were shot, but survived.

“I was scared for them when they were outside, 'cause they're shooting and you don't know if you'll be killed,” said the boys' mother, Marvita Mason-Holmes, 33. “… It's scary, you know? It's sad when you can't let your kid go and play because you don't know if they're going to start shooting today.”

Something had to change.

It wasn't right that her boys – not even teenagers – were surrounded by gangs and gang violence.

It wasn't right that they had to know how to dodge bullets.

It wasn't right that, sooner or later, her boys would have to decide if the sense of “security” that the gang could offer would be worth the risks.

READ MORE: Toledoans take steps to steer youngsters away from gangs

VIDEO: Breaking the Cycle

More Day Three coverage:

Story: Mayor calls Blade series 'irresponsible'

Video: Breaking the Cycle

Photo galleries: Soul City Boxing, Young Men and Women for Change

Storify: Discuss the series on social media with #toledogangs

Map: Interactive Toledo gang map


About the series:

Battle Lines: The Gangs of Toledo

Videos: Battle Lines: The Gangs of Toledo

Reporter: Taylor Dungjen

Photographer: Amy E. Voigt

Getting the gang story: How 2 Blade staffers overcame obstacles to cover Toledo's gangs

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