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Akron family of gun violence victim hopes city will step up efforts to protect their neighborhood

Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 11:00 PM EDT
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AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - The University of Akron is stepping up after one of its students was shot and killed earlier this week.

The college is committing to more city and university police patrols; they’re offering a hefty reward for the killer and installing more cameras near where the student was shot.

People living in other Akron neighborhoods are hoping the same response will also come to their streets.

“It’s just too many murders, man,” said Jonathan Franklin, the father of a gun violence victim. “It’s heart aching. I got a big hole missing out my heart, never be replaced, but I’m not the only one.”

On Dec. 28, 2020, Jonathan Franklin lost his son, 43-year-old Jonathan Franklin Jr.

“It’s so many people in Akron that have lost a child to gun violence that I don’t know; I just know it needs to stop,” Franklin said.

The family said Franklin was in the car with his cousins headed home from a funeral when a driver in another car started shooting at them.

They were near the intersection of Mercer Avenue and Stoner Street.

“When she told me I’m just like I couldn’t do nothing but scream and just run like I couldn’t believe it,” said Rahsheya Carr, Franklin’s niece.

When police arrived on the scene, both cars were gone.

“The car got shot up a lot, and so you know the police got there, and no car was there, there were just bullets everywhere,” said Erica Walters, the victim’s sister.

Walters says their cousin who was driving the car drove to Crouse Street and then left the two shooting victims in the car, her brother and another cousin who was shot in the arm.

Franklin’s family said he left behind two young kids. He was like a father to his niece too.

“I miss him so much like I just had a breakdown like yesterday, and I cried like at work, like I have to leave out of work just to like let it out, it’s so messed up,” said Carr.

The family reached out after seeing the University of Akron’s quick response to one of their students’ deaths last week: increased city and university police patrols, a hefty reward for catching the killer, and an investment in surveillance cameras.

The family’s glad to see this happening, but they worry these things won’t happen in their neighborhood.

“What about us? What about in the hood? We losing these kids left and right like it’s right here on my doorstep today,” said Carr.

In 2020 there were 50 murders total in Akron; as of Sept. 19, 2021, 39 people had been murdered in Akron this year.

“I’m not knocking the police because they are riding around the neighborhoods pulling over cars, these young kids, searching them getting all kinds of guns and stuff, so they’re doing that, but as soon as you took one off the street two more come on probably,” said Franklin.

19 News asked police if detectives had any leads in Franklin’s case; they told us they would check but have not called back.

The family of Jonathan Franklin Jr. wants answers about their brother's murder. They also want...
The family of Jonathan Franklin Jr. wants answers about their brother's murder. They also want the city to do more to address the gun violence in their neighborhood.(Erica Walters)

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