AKRON, Ohio — While a memorial for 18-year-old Na'Kia Crawford continues to grow in the area of North Howard Street and West North Street, a Black Lives Matter mural is being painted on the street nearby.
It's been in the works for the past two weeks, before Crawford's death. Volunteer artists are involved in the artwork.
"When it's time for us to do things within this community they seem to always forget the young black artists," says Akron City 5th Ward Councilwoman, Tara Mosley-Samples. "So this is our way of making sure that they're able to say, we helped do that and they're putting their stamp on this."
Mosely-Samples is behind the mural. She was inspired after seeing "Black Lives Matter" painted on the street in Washington, D.C.
Crawford was shot several times near North Howard Street and West North Street just before 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. She was transported to Akron City Hospital where she later died.
On Thursday, Akron police identified three suspects involved in Crawford's death.
- The shooter, 17-year-old Adarus Black of Lakemore, faces a charge of murder. Sources tell 3News that Black has a long juvenile criminal history.
- 18-year-old Jaion Bivins of Akron has been charged with obstruction and tampering with evidence. According to Akron Police Chief Deputy Jesse Lesser, Bivins and his attorney are cooperating with officers and he is expected to turn himself in.
- The third suspect has been identified as 24-year-old Janisha George of Tallmadge. She faces a charge of obstruction of justice.
Police believe that all three suspects are currently within Summit County.
There is nothing to indicate prior knowledge between Na'Kia and the suspects, according to Lesser. Police believe the shooting was a case of mistaken identity and Crawford found herself in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Nationally renowned attorney Ben Crump, the lead lawyer in the case of George Floyd, has been retained to represent the family of Crawford.
The news was announced in a press release Wednesday, with Crump saying:
"We stand with the family of this young woman in demanding answers from the Akron Police Department. We are committed to making sure police devote the necessary time and resources to identify the killer and get justice for her family,” said Crump in a press release.
According to the New Yorker, Crump is the "go-to civil-rights attorney for families who have lost a loved one to police violence; he is often referred to as “the black Gloria Allred.”
Summit County Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those involved in Na'kia's murder. Additionally, the Crawford family has offered a reward of up to $20,000 and Dr. Cliff Deveny, president of Summa Health, has donated an additional $25,000 to Crime Stoppers in Na'kia's name.