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Akron Shooting Was Mistaken Identity, Not Racist

by Catherine Silva
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Akron Shooting

A shooting that left two people dead and three wounded in it, Ohio, on June 14 was a case of mistaken identity and not racially motivated, police said on Thursday. On the evening of June 14, 2023, a tragic incident unfolded in Akron, Ohio, leaving two individuals dead and three others wounded. Initially raising concerns of a hate crime due to the victims being African-American and the suspects being Caucasian, authorities have now clarified that the shooting was a case of mistaken identity and not racially motivated.

The attack occurred at a residence on Brittain Road, where a group of assailants in a dark-colored SUV targeted the wrong house, mistakenly believing their intended target resided there. Tragically caught in the crossfire, the victims were friends and relatives who had gathered for a cookout. As the investigation progresses, law enforcement agencies actively search for the suspects, who remain at large.

What Happened?

The shooting occurred around 10:30 p.m. Monday at a home on Brittain Road in Akron. According to police, four men and one woman drove to the house in a dark-colored SUV and opened fire at the people inside and outside the home. The victims were all black, and the suspects were white, initially raising concerns that the shooting was a hate crime.

However, police said the suspects had targeted the wrong house and were looking for someone else nearby. The suspects fled the scene after the shooting and have not been arrested yet. Police said they have identified some suspects and are working to locate them.

Who Were The Victims?

The shooting claimed the lives of two men: 34-year-old Brandon Varner and 24-year-old Kiana Welch. Varner was pronounced dead at the scene, and Welch died later at a hospital. Three other people were wounded in the shooting: 20-year-old Jason Bivins, 18-year-old Janasia George, and 14-year-old Laionna Varner. Bivins and George were treated and released from a hospital, while Laionna Varner remains hospitalized in stable condition.

The victims were all relatives or friends gathered at the house for a cookout. They had no connection to the suspects or their intended target, police said. Ohio, on June 14, 2023, claimed the lives of two individuals and left three others wounded. All African-American victims were gathered at a residence on Brittain Road for a cookout when the tragic incident occurred.

How Did The Police Investigate?

The Akron Police Department launched an investigation into the with the help of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the FBI, and the U.S. Marshals Service. They interviewed witnesses, collected evidence, reviewed surveillance footage, and followed leads to identify the suspects and their motives. Police said they learned that the suspects had been involved in an ongoing dispute with another person who lived on Brittain Road but not at the house where the shooting occurred.

The debate was over money and drugs, police said. Police said they believe the suspects had mistakenly thought their target lived at the house where they opened fire. They said they had no evidence that the shooting was racially motivated or related to other recent shootings in it.

What Did The Police Say?

On Thursday, Akron Police Chief Kenneth Ball held a press conference to update the public on the investigation. He expressed his condolences to the victims’ families and friends and thanked the law enforcement agencies that assisted in the case. He also urged anyone with information about the shooting or the suspects to come forward and cooperate with the police. So, He said anyone who helps or harbors the suspects will also face criminal charges.

He also appealed to the community to refrain from violence and retaliation and to trust the justice system to hold the suspects accountable. He stated, “We are asking for calm.” We are requesting harmony. We want to see justice.” Chief Ball promised that anyone who helped or harbored the suspects would face criminal charges and urged members of the public to share any information about the shooting or the suspects’ whereabouts.

What Did The Community Say?

The shooting shocked and saddened the community of it, which has seen a surge in gun violence this year. According to police statistics, there have been 28 homicides and 145 shootings. The community has been deeply affected and saddened by the June 14, 2023, tragic incident. The incident has sent shockwaves throughout the community, which has already been grappling with an alarming surge in gun violence.

The community members have expressed their condolences and sympathies to the families and friends of the victims, offering their support during this difficult time. While the initial concerns of a racially motivated hate crime were prevalent, the clarification from the police that it was a case of mistaken identity generated a mix of emotions within the community. Many are relieved that racial animosity did not motivate the attack.

What Are The Next Steps?

The investigation into the shooting is still ongoing, and the police are asking for the public’s help in locating the suspects. They have released a photo of the SUV the suspects used and asked anyone who recognizes it or has any information about its whereabouts to contact them. The police have also offered a reward of up to $5,000 for any information that leads to the arrest and indictment of the suspects.

The police have also asked anyone who witnessed the shooting or has any video footage to share it. They said that any evidence, no matter how small, could be crucial in solving the case. The police have also assured the community that they are doing everything possible to bring the suspects to justice and prevent further violence.

Conclusion

The shooting that killed two people and three wounded in it on June 14 was a tragic case of mistaken identity and not racially motivated, police said. The suspects, still at large, had targeted the wrong house and were looking for someone else who lived nearby. The victims, who were all black, had no connection to the suspects or their intended target.

They were relatives or friends gathered at the house for a cookout. The police have identified some suspects and are working to locate them. They have also offered a reward for any information that leads to their arrest and indictment. They have also increased patrols and surveillance in the area and have asked the community to cooperate and help them solve the case.

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