x
Breaking News
More () »

Cleveland's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Cleveland, Oh | WKYC.com

'These are very challenging times': Canton mayor addresses recent violence in the city

The shooting death of a 1-year-old baby was one of three homicides that took place in Canton earlier this week.

CANTON, Ohio — Canton city leaders are reacting after a recent series of homicides, including the shooting death of a 19-month-old baby. 

The incident involving 1-year-old Ace Lucas occurred early Wednesday morning. According to police, Ace and his twin brother were sleeping inside their Clarendon Avenue SW home when gunshots rang out. Both were struck, and they were eventually transported to local hospitals. Ace Lucas died from his injuries, while his brother is expected to recover. 

No suspects have been named or arrested at this time.

RELATED: 1-year-old boy shot & killed in Canton; twin brother injured

Ace's death was one of three separate homicides that took place in the city on Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning: 31-year-old Ronald Pleasant was killed on the 1400 block of Louisiana Court Northwest around 8:25 p.m., while 20-year-old Brandon Bush was shot on the 100 block of Pulley Plaza Southeast around 11:43 before dying at the hospital. Two more were injured, and again, no suspects are in custody.

"I wish to express my deepest sympathy to the families and friends of the victims of these senseless acts of violence, and to our community as a whole. In particular, my heart aches and I pray for the family of 19 month old Ace Lucas, who was killed, and we pray for recovery of Ace’s twin brother, Arcel, who was also shot. I hope that God may help you find comfort during this difficult time. I also ask for privacy for the families," Canton Mayor Thomas Bernabei wrote in a letter issued on Friday. 

Bernabei says the Canton Police Department is "working around the clock, at full manpower, to solve these crimes." The department is receiving the full support of the FBI, the FBI Safe Street Task Force, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) and the US Marshall Fugitive Task Force.

On Friday, Canton police posted security camera video of individuals involved in the shooting of Ace and Arcel. The FBI is offering a $5,000 reward, in addition to the $500 from Stark County Crime Stoppers, for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any suspect in the homicide. Anyone with information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, is urged to call the Canton Police Detective Bureau at 330-489-3144 or text “CANTON” with the tip to 847411.

"We are also committing all possible resources to prevent a continuation or escalation of this violence. These are very challenging times, not only for Canton but for America. The COVID-19 pandemic, health risks, children out of school, life out of normal, unemployment, hot summer nights, and racial tensions associated with the George Floyd protests, on top of a continuing opiate fueled drug epidemic, and proliferation of high powered guns on the street, are fueling violence everywhere. Please rest assured that our Police Department is fully committed to protecting our community," Bernabei added.

You can read Bernabei's entire letter below:

CANTON, OHIO – From the desk of Mayor Thomas M. Bernabei

In response to the tragic events of the evening of Tuesday, July 21, 2020 and the early morning hours of Wednesday, July 22, 2020, I wish to express my deepest sympathy to the families and friends of the victims of these senseless acts of violence, and to our community as a whole. In particular, my heart aches and I pray for the family of 19 month old Ace Lucas, who was killed, and we pray for recovery of Ace’s twin brother, Arcel, who was also shot. I hope that God may help you find comfort during this difficult time. I also ask for privacy for the families.

I want everyone to know that our Police Department is working around the clock, at full manpower, to solve these crimes. We are not alone. We have received the full support of the FBI, the FBI Safe Street Task Force, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) and the US Marshall Fugitive Task Force.

While the entire city mourns, there are individuals who know who committed these acts. We ask for help from the community in solving these crimes. If you know something, PLEASE SAY SOMETHING! This is our community and our safety needs the help of all citizens. The Police need your help. The Police department has posted on their website security camera video of individuals involved in the shooting of Ace and Arcel. Someone out there who sees this video footage will recognize and be able to identify them. We are committed to using all possible resources to locate the shooters and put an end to the violence in our city.

The FBI is offering a $5,000 reward, in addition to the $500 from Stark County Crime Stoppers, for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any suspect in the homicide. Anyone with information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, is urged to call the Canton Police Detective Bureau at 330-489-3144 or text “CANTON” with the tip to 847411.

We are also committing all possible resources to prevent a continuation or escalation of this violence. These are very challenging times, not only for Canton but for America. The COVID-19 pandemic, health risks, children out of school, life out of normal, unemployment, hot summer nights, and racial tensions associated with the George Floyd protests, on top of a continuing opiate fueled drug epidemic, and proliferation of high powered guns on the street, are fueling violence everywhere. Please rest assured that our Police Department is fully committed to protecting our community.

The City of Canton will be holding a press conference today, July 24, 2020, at 3:30 PM on the front steps of Canton City Hall, 218 Cleveland Ave. SW Canton, Ohio 44702. In attendance will be Mayor Bernabei, Council President William Sherer, Council Majority Leader Bill Smuckler, Ward Council Member Chris Smith and Chief of Police Jack Angelo.

RELATED: Ohio National Guard soldier from North Canton tests positive for coronavirus at Port Clinton's Camp Perry

RELATED: Canton man's past struggles inspire empowering clothing brand: 'Your Story Matters'

RELATED: Driver crashes into East Canton house to avoid hitting dog

RELATED: Canton home catches fire with 6 residents sleeping inside; two firefighters, one civilian injured