CLEVELAND -- The man who shot three people outside the Envy Lounge in Ohio City early Friday morning was from Mentor. The coroner has identified him as Elijah Cole, 22.
After he fired into the crowd exiting the nightclub at 2:15 a.m., Cole was shot and killed by off-duty police officers who were working security there.
The incident began as a fight inside the nightclub on W. 25th Street. The off-duty police officers, who were working as security guards at Envy Lounge, had escorted the people involved in the fight outside.
Three of the men, including Cole got into a car, but police say Cole got out when he spotted one of the people he had been fighting. Police say he then fired several shots at the crowd outside, and hit three people.
The off-duty police officers returned fire and hit the Cole twice. He got back into his car and drove away, but only made it about 200 feet down West 25th Street before he died. The car crashed and the other two men inside were arrested.
The shooting was the second incident in two days on Cleveland's west side in which a fight among young people ended in guns being drawn and people being shot and killed.
"You find more and more guns in the hands of younger and younger people," said Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, "and these guns are powerful and they hold a lot of rounds."
"Rather than cool off or just engage in a fist fight, they'll pull out a gun."
Jackson blamed the Ohio Legislature for getting in the way of the City of Clevealnd's efforts for more strict gun control regulations.
"It's not that we're saying guns should not be owned," the Mayor explained. "It's who owns them, how easy are they gotten, and to have better regulation on non-licensed gun dealers."
Ohio City councilman Joe Cimperman vowed to once again go after Envy's liquor license. Previous attempts by the city to close the club were not successful.
"We have a serious, daunting task ahead of us but we're ready for the fight," Cimperman told WKYC. "This is a neighborhood that does not give up a fight."
"Envy's been a problem for years. I've objected to their liquor license in the past," Cimperman said. He pointed to past successes in closing wayward nightclubs in his ward.
"Pretty soon you'll be able to get an ice cream cone at Mitchell's," he said, alluding to the impending opening of the new headquarters of Mitchell's Ice Cream. The company is moving into the old Club Moda, which was closed in 2006 when its owner was convicted of laundering drug money through the club.
"Instead of a liquor store, you're actually able to get a hamburger at Market Garden Brewery," Cimperman continued. He says he prevented the building now housing that restaurant from becoming a state liquor store on West 25th.
"And Mirage, which used to be a shoot-em-up gallery is now a vacant property, and will be something good again and not the nuisance it was. And clearly we've got the same work to do with Envy."
Ohio City business owner Jeff Campbell said he would stand with the councilman in his efforts to close the Envy Lounge.
"We hope it does close, definitely," said Campbell who operates three stalls in the West Side Market and just opened a popular bakery and popcorn shop called Campbell's Sweets Factory, a few doors north of Envy.
"We call this area Solo, which is South of Lorain," Campbell explained. "There's so much happening in this area and for something like that to happen is just a big blotch on what we're already doing here."
The three Cleveland men who were shot by Cole were all taken to MetroHealth Medical Center, but two left the hospital against medical advice according to Cleveland Police.
Luther Whiteside, 26, had been shot in the right hand, and Kaenyel Stewart, 25, had been shot in the chest and arm.
One wounded man was admitted and remained in the hospital. Darryl Lolles, 29, was shot in the chest and in the eye.
The two men who were with Cole in the were arrested but later released by Cleveland Police who said they were cooperating in the investigation.