Gunfire killed two 18-year-olds Tuesday in South Toledo, increasing a spike in city violence now totaling 10 victims shot in four days and claiming the life of a recent GED recipient who leaves behind a 1-year-old son.
Toledo police found Gregory Stone and Deiyana Porter dead inside a parked car behind a house in the 700 block of Brighton Avenue when officers responded to a shooting there at about 12:30 p.m. Police in a news release said Mr. Stone lived at the house where the shooting occurred.
Their deaths marked the latest instance of young Toledo adults or teenagers — police said Ms. Porter lived in the 3100 block of Parkwood Avenue — suffering often fatal violence at the hands of an often unknown gunman.
Detectives continue to investigate the Brighton Avenue shooting and the killing of Dantana Cunningham, 25, who was fatally shot inside his home in the 300 block of Chapin Street, early Sunday morning. Investigators had not identified suspects in either case as of Tuesday. Toledo police spokesman Sgt. Kevan Toney said authorities are investigating whether the series of recent shootings could be connected.
Mr. Stone’s and Ms. Porter’s deaths sparked an outpouring of grief both on Facebook and at the homes of the deceased, where dozens gathered in mourning Tuesday evening.
Ms. Porter’s aunt, Charthrice Warren, 37, of Toledo, said her niece turned 18 just two months earlier on Aug. 10. On her birthday she also returned to Toledo from Dayton, where she had spent several months earning her general educational development equivalency diploma, forklift license, and medical administrative assistant certificate from Dayton Job Corps Center. Before that, she attended Achieve Career Preparatory Academy in Toledo through the 10th grade, her aunt said.
“It’s a horrible tragedy,” Ms. Warren said. “It’s a hard pill to swallow... My niece did a whole 360-degree and then some. She changed a lot. She became a full-fledged young lady. She will never be forgotten.”
Ms. Warren and about 65 others in the wake of Tuesday’s shooting gathered at the central city residence Ms. Warren shared with Ms. Porter and Ms. Porter’s son. Ms. Warren said her niece spent a lot of her time with the boy.
“She liked to do things with him, like take him bowling and swimming,” she said. “She was very outgoing. She was loving. She was caring. It took a lot to make her mad. She loved her friends and family. She just loved life and to have fun.”
Ms. Warren said she was at a loss as to who could have done this to her niece because she had no enemies that she knew of.
“She was just at the wrong place at the wrong time,” she said, adding that what she would tell those who shot her niece was, “Go rot in hell, because you took an innocent person away and for nothing.”
Dozens of people on Tuesday evening also came to Mr. Stone’s South Toledo home, the scene of the crime. There, a woman who did not identify herself, said his parents were in shock and did not want to talk to the media.
Neighbor Joe Stelzer, 58, said he heard about 13 shots at the time of the killings. The area was once nice, he said, but he now wants to move because of recent shootings.
“It's ridiculous. I don't feel safe here anymore,” Mr. Stelzer said.
Police previously responded April 6 to the same home on a report of shots fired. They found nine shell casings at the time.
Officials believe Mr. Stone and Ms. Porter were dating.
Toledo Public Schools spokesman Patty Mazur confirmed Mr. Stone graduated from Rogers High School in May.
Dr. James Patrick, Lucas County coroner, said autopsies are scheduled for Wednesday.
The coroner’s office previously found Mr. Cunningham died from multiple gunshot wounds.
Detectives are also investigating another Tuesday shooting: shots fired into a different South Toledo residence that left three people suffering from apparent bullet wounds.
Witnesses reported gunshots about 1:43 a.m. in the 800 block of Lorain Street, near Newbury Street. Police said Toledo residents Jimmy Overton, 18, Terriana Kirkwood, 21, and Tyshawn Williams, 19, were treated at Mercy Health St. Vincent Medical Center.
Mr. Overton underwent surgery for several gunshot wounds. He was listed in critical condition and expected to survive, police said. Ms. Kirkwood appeared to be shot in the lower left arm and Mr. Williams in the right hand. The victims’ injuries were described as not life threatening.
A hospital spokesman said no information was available on all three patients. Police are searching for suspects in that case, too.
The Lorain house's front window was boarded up Tuesday afternoon. No one answered at the door.
Sandra Sosbe, 67, has lived more than 30 years in the area. She described a reduction in the number of families that live in the neighborhood and an increase in crime and abandoned houses.
“The whole 600 block of Lorain is basically gone,” she said.
There have been 133 people shot this year in Toledo, according to a Blade review of police records. Thirty-four homicides have occured this year in the city, and police have solved 21 of those crimes.
In another recent firearm killing, De’Asia Wallace, 20, died from a single gunshot wound to the chest in the wake of a brawl that occurred Sept. 24 in the 1800 block of Macomber Street. Emanuel Garner, 16, has been charged in connection with that shooting, which also wounded Tanaysia Young, 15. The Garner youth was also wounded.
Those with information about any of the crimes are urged to call Crime Stopper at 419-255-1111.
Staff writers Allison Reamer and Sarah Elms contributed.