Akron community comes together to march against gun violence

Akron community comes together to march against gun violence

AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - Dozens of demonstrators marched through the streets of Akron on Friday, demanding an end to gun violence.

Many of the marchers held signs and wore clothing in memory of MiKayla Pickett, an 8-year-old who was gunned down at a birthday party last month.

“I love everyone for coming out and supporting me,” said Shoskamika Risper, Pickett’s mother. “I don’t know what I’d do without my family. This is beautiful. It’s a beautiful thing. I appreciate that they came out to walk with me today.”

Pickett died after being shot at a party in the 700 block of Roselle Avenue just before midnight on Aug. 14.

Police said an unknown number of people opened fired at the home during the party.

Days after the shooting, the homeowner told 19 News he was hosting the birthday party in his backyard for his teenage grandson.

No arrests have been made.

While much of the focus at Friday’s march was on the Pickett shooting, there were other victims being remembered too -- primarily minors.

As of Friday, six of Akron’s 38 homicide victims this year were under the age of 18.

“Get these killers and guns off the street,” Risper said. “It’s Sad. Kids shouldn’t be losing their lives this young.”

It’s the third time in less than ten years that Risper has been forced to bury a child.

In 2011, her 3-month-old daughter died of natural causes.

In 2017, her 16-year-old daughter LaShae Johnson died in a high profile crash involving an SUV and and Akron fire truck.

“I just keep praying to God every day,” Risper told 19 News. “It’s hard for me to even get out of bed some days. I’d just like everyone to keep praying for me.”

Summit County Crimestoppers is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the shooting death of Pickett.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is offering a separate reward and is assisting with the investigation, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Akron police detectives at 330-375-2490.

You can also call Summit County Crimestoppers at 330-434-COPS.

Callers can remain anonymous.

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