Saturday, Dec 10, 2016
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Police & Fire

Toledo community shaken by shootings

6 victims hit as city looks for solution

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Brasia Lee, 11, discusses the most recent shooting that occurred on her family’s block on East Streicher Street over the weekend in North Toledo. Four teens were shot on East Streicher. Brasia was 9 years old when she was shot in her right leg two years ago.

THE BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH
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Once the gunfire stopped outside Brasia Lee’s window Saturday morning, she slowly made her way outside.

The 11-year-old girl heard yelling, people shouting names into the night, and saw men and women running toward Warsaw Street. East Streicher Street, usually dimly lit only by the yellow glow of street lamps, was awash in the red and blue lights from the Toledo police cars that zipped around corners and stopped near her home at about 12:20 a.m.

Four boys were shot that morning — Arnold James, 17, Keontae Johnson, 16, Marquise Robinson, 17, and Rondale Ensley, 17 — and the weekend violence would continue with another two shootings. All were in North Toledo, all without apparent motives and all lacking suspects.

At 10:33 p.m. Sunday, Davonte Lewis, 20, was sitting in his Ford Explorer, in the 2100 block of Walnut Street, when he was shot twice — once just above his left knee and once in his right forearm, according to a report. He drove himself to Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center where he was treated for his injuries.

Fifteen minutes later, police were dispatched to shots fired at D Street and St. John Avenue. There officers found Scottie Rice, 53, on a porch in the 1100 block of St. John with two gunshot wounds.

The victim told police he was in front of his home when two juveniles on bicycles rode by. One in a red T-shirt pulled out a gun and fired several times, striking Mr. Rice in a hand. The suspect fled and the victim started to run, but the second juvenile then pulled out a gun and started shooting, hitting Mr. Rice in an ankle. The victim was taken to Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center for treatment.

Police do not believe any of the incidents are related.

Each of the shootings happened just days after members of city council, in a news conference, asked warring gangs to stop shooting one another. Although the shooting on East Streicher is believed to be gang involved, an exact motive was unclear. The neighborhood is known to be Bloods territory.

“We need to organize in order to … implore upon them to help us come up with a solution to help resolve some of their issues,” said Councilman Theresa Gabriel, who also said a lack of jobs is a factor in continuing violence.

Almost two years ago, Brasia was shot in her right leg while she slept inside of her grandmother’s home on East Streicher. A bullet was fired from outside, into a window, through a dresser, and struck the sleeping 9-year-old.

“If I sleep in that room, I have nightmares,” Brasia said on Monday. After the shooting Saturday, while the chaos unfolded around her, all she could think to do was check her neighbor’s car for bullet holes. There were none.

Neighbors said there was a large party at 19 E. Streicher on Friday night, which carried on into Saturday morning, and there were more than 100 people sardined into the small one-story home.

News of the shooting spread on social media and found its way to David Hart’s Twitter timeline. Friends and St. Francis de Sales classmates were Tweeting “Pray for Keontae,” the 16-year-old high school junior said on Monday. After finding an online news article he realized the victim was one of his classmates. The violence was close to home.

The teen did some quick research and said he found that violent crime tends to go up in the summer months while blood donations go down “which is not a correlation you want to have,” he said. The Hart youth asked his 500-plus Twitter followers to stop by a previously scheduled Red Cross Blood Drive on Monday. Even if the donated blood didn't help their schoolmate, who is a running back for the school football team, it could help someone else, the Hart youth said.

Angie Bermudez, a spokesman for the Red Cross, said there were 44 walk-in donors Monday. “which is not very common. I do believe there has been a response [to the social media] that’s definitely spread.”

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

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