“He had multiple shots through his neck and shoulder,” said LaSalle Harris of Akron.
Harris said her son was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
“He’s in an induced coma because he cannot move or else he will die.”
It’s the painful reality of a fatal shooting on Akron’s south side Wednesday night. Harris’ son is among three injured in a shooting in the 800-block of Sumner Street. Deontae Henderson, 24, of Akron was also shot and later died from his injuries.
Just hours later, two people were hurt when gunshots rang out at a BP gas station on North Portage Path and Merriman Road early Thursday morning.
But even in the midst of Harris’ heartache and the pain shared by others impacted by the shootings, remains the feeling of hope that a community can come together to stop the cycle of violence. Harris said she spent more than 20 years struggling from a drug and alcohol addiction. She’s now working with others in recovery and hoping to make a positive change in the neighborhood through community outreach.
“It makes me feel sad. But it also makes me want to fight harder for this lifestyle to change.”
It’s the fight for a better life that has been plagued with the fear of the unknown.
“Worried for my own son, my family. Nervous, though, for my community,” said Darrita Davis with the Stop the
Violence Movement in Akron. She said a solution starts with boots on the ground; getting more people active in their communities and reaching out to those who need it the most.
“We don’t know our neighbors; the block clubs are no longer active so let’s activate a true street team on each side of town.”
Davis said the movement is critical to ask the tough questions.
“What has happened in your life that makes you pick up a gun anyway.”
The questions and subsequent support begins to light a conversation on the value of life, according to Davis.
Among the efforts being put forth to spark a change, a community garden sits just feet away from where Wednesday’s fatal shooting took place. The garden was put in place through the Joanna House ll & Outreach Center, a women's recovery ministry, but Harris said the garden is a benefit to the entire community.
“To be that light, that power of example, to give hope.”