CLEVELAND - The Cleveland NAACP has released a statement, regarding the death last Saturday of Deborah Pearl, 53, of Twinsburg, who was shot and killed by a North Ridgeville man following a traffic crash.
Pearl was driving northbound on Richmond Road just before 7:30 a.m. Saturday when Matthew Desha, 29, ran the red light and crashed into Pearl's vehicle. Following the crash, Desha crawled out of his vehicle with a rifle and walked over to Pearl, who was standing outside her vehicle.
Desha then repeatedly shot Pearl, who died later at a hospital.
Some are calling the incident a hate crime because Pearl is black and Desha is white.
The NAACP is calling for people to pass a national criminal background check before they are allowed to buy a weapon.
Here is the Cleveland NAACP statement from President Michael Nelson:
"Justice for Deborah Pearl must be accompanied by a change in strategy for the National Rifle Association (NRA). Notwithstanding the media fascination with the defendant's reported suffering from PTSD, the real tragedy is that a criminal openly and unlawfully possessed a gun."
"The NAACP will not jump to any conclusions, but will wait for the evidence that will clarify the circumstances which caused this defendant to leave the comfort of his community, drive across town, collide with a non-suspecting woman who was on her way to work, and instead of seeking to comfort her, pull out a military style rifle, shoot and kill her."
"We have no doubt that the investigation into this case will provide clarity into the motives of the accused killer and will expose any group affiliations or relationships, personal philosophy, internet or reading material upon which he relied and led to his killing of Ms. Pearl.The larger question is when will Congress stop being the lap dogs of the NRA, and pass gun laws that requires any one desiring to purchase a gun to first pass a national criminal background check?"
"The death of Ms. Pearl was as much the responsibility of the NRA and its weak-kneed allies in Congress as it was the killer. It is highly probable that Ms. Pearl would still be alive if Congress had acted responsibly."
"The Cleveland NAACP would request that the NRA respect the death of Ms. Pearl, by dropping its opposition to criminal background checks and further that Congress pass such a law in its next session."
Desha is being held on $1 million bond and is being charged with murder.
Neighbors say Desha suffered from the effects of the war.
A vigil was held for Deborah Pearl Monday night