Pastor condemns violence after another child shot, says family unity can fight problem

Pastor condemns violence after another child shot, says family unity can fight problem
Mt. Zion Church in Oakwood Village. (Source: WOIO)
Mt. Zion Church in Oakwood Village. (Source: WOIO)

OAKWOOD VILLAGE, OH (WOIO) - Cleveland police continue to search for the suspect who shot three people Thursday afternoon near E. 30th Street and Central. One of the victims was a 9-year-old girl.

This comes a day after the man convicted of killing 3-year-old Major Howard in a drive-by shooting back in 2015 was sentenced 37 years to life in prison.

Community leaders are tired of the violence. Rev. Dr. Larry Macon Sr. will never forget the funeral his church held back in October 2015 for 5-month-old Aavielle Wakefield. The baby girl was shot and killed while riding in a car in Cleveland.

The Senior Pastor of Mt. Zion Church in Oakwood Village was left trying to find the right words to comfort the community.

"How do you truly heal someone who has lost a child in that kind of devastation? It was very, very hard," Macon said.

Baby Aavielle was the last child killed in a string of shootings that left northeast Ohio stunned that fall. Just weeks before, 5-year-old Ramon Burnett Jr. and 3-year-old Major Howard were also shot and killed.

Now this summer, another innocent child has been caught in the crossfire.

"What we need to say to the community is life is valuable. And we have to begin valuing life, and somewhere along the line we've kind of missed that kind of ethics," Macon said.

Pastor Macon says it comes down to family support.

"I don't think that there's family unity, I don't think there's community. I don't think there's national unity and we have to return to those kinds of ethics. And we have to say to people children are off limits," Macon said.

He says it takes a community to build strong people who don't turn to violence.

"I think a lot of the violence that is going on today has to do with no home training. When you don't have the proper kind of home structure, guess what -- the church becomes a surrogate family for you," Macon said.

The suspect who killed 5-month-old Aavielle Wakefield still hasn't been caught. Aavielle's father tells me he's still waiting for justice.

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