Professor killed in Cleveland drive-by shooting remembered as goodhearted, peaceful

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Senseless violence took the life of an innocent professor caught in the crossfire of a drive-by shooting this past weekend.

Friends and colleagues remember David Wilder as a goodhearted man who devoted his life to fighting for social justice.

"He did have a lot of impact. He was a terrific fellow," said Wilder's friend and former colleague, Yvonne Bruce.

Bruce called Wilder a passionate professor, who devoted his life to improving higher education and workers rights. She said she's still working to accept the unexpected loss.

"I'm still just trying to get over the fact that this really happened. That something so random and senseless could've taken his life that quickly," Bruce said.

Wilder, 61, was killed Saturday afternoon. Cleveland police said he got caught in the crossfire of two cars near East 89th and Woodland Ave.

"I still have a hard time believing that. It points to a larger problem with random violence in some of the areas of Cleveland that need more attention," Bruce said. "He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Bruce said Wilder always fought for what he believed was right. He taught art and art history at Tri-C, John Carroll University, and Cleveland State University.

"(Students) loved him. He had a very gentle and sweet demeanor. He was a very low key, supportive instructor," Bruce said.

On top of teaching, Wilder co-founded the Ohio Part-Time Faculty Association. His goal was to draw attention and support for adjunct faculty.

The association released a statement Monday, which said, in part: "We, his friends and colleagues, are devastated by his loss and resolute in our determination to continue our work in his honor, as we know he would want us to do. We share the grief of his family and friends in this immeasurable loss."

"I think he would like to be remembered as someone who lived the way he wanted everyone else to live," Bruce said.

Bruce said faculty at both John Carroll University and Tri-C are planning memorials for Wilder. There is a GoFundMe account set up to pay for Wilder's funeral expenses. Any extra money raised will be used to set up an art scholarship in Wilder's name.

Three people have been arrested and charged in connection to Saturday's shooting

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