BATTLE LINES: GANGS OF TOLEDO

Toddlers again caught in Toledo crossfire at Greenbelt Place Apartments

5/6/2013
BY TAYLOR DUNGJEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Deborah Green, 23, talks about the shooting at Greenbelt Place that wounded her  daughter Yealaysia Williams, 1.
Deborah Green, 23, talks about the shooting at Greenbelt Place that wounded her daughter Yealaysia Williams, 1.

Deborah Green does not want to go home.

“You got ignorant people living over there who want to shoot, gang bang, claim Crips or Bloods,” said the 23-year-old mother of two.

Ms. Green was uprooted from her home near the Greenbelt Place Apartments on Walnut Street in North Toledo after a bullet fragment from a shooting Wednesday lodged itself in her 1-year-old daughter’s back.

“I was freaked out,” said Ms. Green, with the girl, Yealaysia Williams, sleeping on an L-shaped sofa next to her.

“I damn near lost my baby.”

That shooting also injured Kaiejah Williams, 2, whose left arm was grazed by a bullet.

The two girls are not related.

COLUMN: Gangs in Toledo: Where do we go from here?

RELATED: Battle Lines: Gangs of Toledo

RELATED: Interactive gang map

All of this comes less than a year after Keondra Hooks, 1, was buried.

Keondra was shot once in the head on Aug. 9 when at least 12 rounds blasted through a rear sliding-glass door of the Moody Manor apartment where she slept. Leondra Hooks, now 3, survived a shot to her chest.

Later this month, three young men are to be tried for the crimes. If convicted, they could face up to life in prison.

“It was sad to hear about that,” Ms. Green said about the Hooks sisters. “I feel sorry for them.”

Reuben Jurva of the Toledo Gang Unit speaks to a youngster at the scene of the shooting at the Greenbelt Place apartments.
Reuben Jurva of the Toledo Gang Unit speaks to a youngster at the scene of the shooting at the Greenbelt Place apartments.

The Greenbelt apartments, 806 Cherry St., oftentimes still called the Cherry Wood apartments, are claimed by a Crips-affiliated gang — the Cherry Woodz. The complex is just blocks away from territory claimed by three Bloods-affiliated gangs — the Manor Boyz, Page Boy Bloods, and the Bagdad Boyz.

The 176-unit, project-based Section 8 apartment complex in North Toledo has a history of gangs, violence, and overall tenant dissatisfaction.

Residents have complained about safety concerns, cockroaches, bedbugs, and unresponsive management. The property is owned by Hampstead Cherrywood Partners LP and is managed by California-based Intercoastal Financial.

A woman who answered a call at the complex’s main office Friday afternoon was busy with an applicant and deferred comment to her supervisor, who did not return a call for comment.

Police Sgt. Diane Chandler was near the Greenbelt apartments on the night the toddlers were wounded when she heard eight to 10 gunshots just before 8 p.m., according to a police report.

What happened still isn’t clear — police said witnesses were not cooperative. Some reported a drive-by shooting; others said a man got out of a truck, opened fire and then drove away.

A piece of yellow police tape is caught on the gate surrounding the Greenbelt Place apartments last week.
A piece of yellow police tape is caught on the gate surrounding the Greenbelt Place apartments last week.

Police said it appears the shooting happened inside the parking lot, near the units in the 700 block of Walnut. It’s possible two people were exchanging gunfire. But it might have been only one shooter.

At least one witness reported seeing a man wearing a black-hooded sweatshirt and red sweatpants running from the scene after the shots were fired.

Could be a suspect. Could be a man trying to avoid being shot.

Before the gunfire, no one heard an argument or a fight. No one knows why someone was shooting: gangs, a robbery, jilted lover.

There’s no lack of theories, just a lack of witnesses.

“C’mon. Children got shot and you don't know anything?” asked one frustrated father. He asked to not be identified because the shooting was right behind his apartment. “Fortunately these babies didn’t get mortally wounded, but still injured in something that has nothing to do with them.”

Shareese Jones, 29, was outside with her family. She herded her family inside but couldn’t find her 10-year-old son, who was sitting on a green utility box only feet from where the shooting occurred.

“I’m a mom and I have to go dodge some bullets to protect my kids,” she said.

She eventually found her son hiding in another building.

About two hours after the shooting, a man posted on Twitter, “Heard sumbody got shot in the Woodz.”

Less than a year ago, Keondra Hooks, 1, left, was killed and her sister Leondra Hooks, 2, right, was seriously wounded in a shooting at the Moody Manor apartment complex.
Less than a year ago, Keondra Hooks, 1, left, was killed and her sister Leondra Hooks, 2, right, was seriously wounded in a shooting at the Moody Manor apartment complex.

That man and another, who both frequently post about Bloods-affiliated gangs, celebrated “man down.”

Police are frequently driving around the complex and through parking lots; Ms. Green said Signal 88, a private security company that patrols several Toledo neighborhoods, is often in the area, but more could be done.

Toledo police have a surveillance camera nearby — in front of a convenience store at Walnut and North Michigan streets — but residents claim people are still robbed within sight of the camera, especially if it’s pointed in a different direction.

The apartment complex also has surveillance cameras, but there was no report if any of the shooting was recorded.

“I feel like they need to catch [the shooter(s)] before he shoot someone else or kill someone,” Ms. Green said. “Hopefully he turn himself in and has a guilty conscience because that’s not right. … Be a man. Don’t be an idiot and use a gun.”

Contact Taylor Dungjen at: tdungjen@theblade.com, 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @taylordungjen.