Quiet Street Disturbed By Violence
It was a quiet evening on Waterbury Ave. people taking down Christmas trimmings and packing up the lights. "Suddenly I heard a gunshot, it was muffled, but it sure sounded like a gunshot. Then two more in rapid succession and I am sure those were gunshots not firecrackers. Then all hell broke loose," said one of neighbors on the street. "Next thing I know a Burgundy SUV driven by a white gal comes flying down the street followed by a black male in a dark colored Honda Element. They stopped behind Waterbury Coach house where I heard her say, 'They offed him, we got to get out of here.' Then people and cars were running everywhere as the party emptied out."
When I asked if he knew who was involved he said "probably the same punks that have been writing "313" around the neighborhood." "313" is the area code for Detroit Michigan, and is not only featured in an Eminem song, but is also a tag used by Detroit gangs working Cleveland Heights as reported in the Heights Observer.
Within minutes the police were there, but the scene had spread and the Lakewood Police were not far behind. They surrounded a house south of Athens on Waterbury, where one the the "girlfriends lived."
In fact, as I was leaving the scene of the murder, I stumbled across 9 police cars hidden on Athens and asked what was going on- it would seem they were surrounding a house. As I left, I had a tip that police were also on Lakewood Ave., Elbur, Quail, and Halstead. So, I stopped by Lakewood Ave where SWAT had come in as well as the Lakewood Fire Department. They had extended a ladder to the third floor window of the house the shooter was believed to be hiding in. First they had to get the children and people out of the house, then they had to go in to a very dark, cramped place that would have put them at the criminal's mercy had he been there. So the Fire Department extended a ladder to the third floor and SWAT knocked out the window, and entered the house, but found no one. The police never let up all night long, rounding up suspects and witnesses. By 2 a.m., they had six in custody, and they were talking.
The next morning police were still shaking down everyone and rounding up "people of interest" that might have been at the party, or involved in the party. By this time the police had a pretty good idea of who was involved and what happened, and Lakewood Police Chief Timothy Malley released this:
From: Chief Timothy J. Malley - News Release 12-000173 - "The Lakewood Police Department investigated the report of gunshots at 2051 Waterbury on 1-6-12 at 9:27 PM. Upon arrival officers found Charles E. Wilson, 17, of 2013 W104 Cleveland, dead from a gunshot wound. Located outside of the residence was Frederick Burt, 20 yrs, of 2013 W 104th, Cleveland. He had a gunshot wound to the leg and was transported to Metro Hospital.
Investigation is ongoing by the Lakewood Police Department and the Cuyahoga County Coroner's Office. Several individuals have been arrested in relation to this case, charges will be filed by Monday, January 9th, 2012. Evidence has been collected and will be submitted to the Coroner's Office for testing. One firearm has been impounded in relation to this case. An updated news release will be issued by the Office of the Chief of Police on Monday January 9th."
All weekend long, people that had attended the party were turning themselves in. Monday Morning at noon Chief Malley had added this news release:
News Release 1.9.2012 - "In regards to the shooting at 2051 Waterbury on 1/6/2012, the following individuals have been charged: Andre Daniels, 25yrs old, of 1588 Lakewood Ave, Lakewood- Aggravated Murder, Ronald Perry, 21yrs old, of 2034 Richland Ave. Lakewood – Obstructing Justice, Heather Tuel, 33yrs old, of 1588 Lakewood Ave. Lakewood – Obstructing Justice, Deon D. Allen, 18yrs old of Atlanta Georgia, - Obstructing Official Business, Alex F. Sifford, 17yrs old of Clifton Blvd, Cleveland – Delinquency – Receiving Stolen Property. - The investigation is ongoing with additional charges possible for these and other suspects. The cases for Daniels, Perry, and Tuel will be handled by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor in the Common Pleas Court. Allen will be prosecuted by the Lakewood City Prosecutor in Lakewood Municipal Court. Sifford will be charged in the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court. The initial investigation reveals that there may have been some familiarity between some of the suspects and victims. Motive has not been established at this point. The investigation is ongoing between the Lakewood Police Department, Cuyahoga County Coroner, and the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor. Further details will be provided when available." - Chief Timothy Malley
Mayor Mike Summers summed it up: “On Friday night, one of our normally tranquil neighborhoods experienced a frightening and disconcerting situation. It is very discouraging and unsettling when violence creeps into our neighborhoods. I can speak with confidence and pride that our safety forces performed admirably. Working cooperatively with our Fire Department, the areas of investigation were adequately lighted, safe and thorough. Within 24 hours, all persons of interest were interviewed except one person. The remaining person is scheduled to be interviewed today.
The inappropriate actions taking place at this house escalated very rapidly. On December 17, 2011, police were called by Waterbury neighbors with nuisance activity complaints. Two more calls over the latter part of December reported loud noise, fighting, and frequent visitors. An arrest was made on December 29th which triggered our criminal nuisance enforcement action initiated last Wednesday, January 4th. We appreciate the vigilance of the Waterbury neighbors. Their attention and action placed this residence on our “radar screen” and enabled us to take the necessary actions to declare this house a nuisance. Unfortunately, this terrible situation occurred before additional action by the landlord could be taken. Our criminal nuisance law was created with the intention of eliminating these types of situations before they escalate to this extreme. The process is designed to protect our neighborhoods, and be respectful of the rights of all parties. We will continue to strive to enforce the nuisance law to the best of our ability.“
Meanwhile on the Lakewood Observation Deck people were wondering if the city and the police had done enough. Law Director Kevin Butler answered this with a post Monday at 5:20 pm that stated: "The Waterbury address was the subject of five police visits over a period of three different days in late December 2011. One, on Dec. 17, was for the report of a stolen phone tied somehow to that address. Another, on Dec. 20, was for loud music. Three calls were made Dec. 29, the first for females fighting in the street (gone on arrival), the second for suspicious cars coming and going (gone on arrival), and the third for suspicious males running through the backyard. An arrest was made related to the third call, when a suspect hid from the police, resisted arrest and gave police false information.
On Jan. 4, two days before the homicide, the police sought to add this property to our chronic-nuisance enforcement list related to these December events. Adding the property to the list means a warning letter goes to the landlord and encourages the landlord to remedy the nuisance condition.
Here, the records reflect our police were in step with the criminal activity reported at the property. The activity was dealt with timely and appropriately. Respectfully, I disagree with any statement to the contrary." Kevin Butler
Publisher, Lakewood Observer, Inc.