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Cleveland officials address rash of gun violence

Published: Sep. 15, 2015 at 11:54 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 18, 2015 at 10:28 PM EDT
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3-year-old Major Howard. (Source: Facebook)
3-year-old Major Howard. (Source: Facebook)
Woman and 3-year-old shot on Cleveland's east side around East 113th and Union. (Source: WOIO)
Woman and 3-year-old shot on Cleveland's east side around East 113th and Union. (Source: WOIO)
Police rope off crime scene at East 113th (Source: WOIO)
Police rope off crime scene at East 113th (Source: WOIO)
Family and friends gather outside MetroHealth Medical Center while the victims are inside....
Family and friends gather outside MetroHealth Medical Center while the victims are inside. (Source: WOIO)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Chief of Police Calvin Williams addressed the city's recent gun violence on Wednesday.

Both expressed their condolences to the families of 3-year-old Major Howard and 5-year-old Ramon Burnett, Jr. The two children were killed by gunfire in separate drive-by shootings on Cleveland's east side.

As a call to action, city leaders plan to hold community meetings at five rec centers on Saturday at 11 a.m. The meetings will take place at Cudell, Zelma George, Lonnie Burten, Glenville, and Michael Zone rec centers.

"We're asking for the public's help in this. We need the public's help in this. Policing and safety in this city does not happen without our community members out there," said Chief Williams.

Major Howard and 24-year-old Rob'Dasha Smith were shot just after 7 p.m. Tuesday. They were taken to Cleveland Clinic in a private car, then airlifted to MetroHealth Medical Center. Smith was shot in the thigh and Major was hit in the chest. Smith was treated and released from the hospital, but Major died shortly after surgery.

Smith is not Major's mother; their exact relationship is not known.

Chief Williams says the victims were shot while sitting in a car on East 113th Street near Union Avenue.

"The vehicle pulled up. Shots were fired from that vehicle towards the other vehicle. The victims were seated in on the street," Williams said shortly after the shooting Tuesday night.

Authorities are looking for a light-colored or white four-door vehicle. It is suspected to be a new model Toyota.

This tragic incident comes just 11 days after 5-year-old Ramon Burnett Jr. was killed in a drive-by shooting on Louise Harris Drive. The community is still reeling from his loss.

"This is awful. We haven't buried Ramon yet. We're dealing with this atrocity. We just hope it soon stops and we try to come up with some solutions," said Donnie Pastard with Black on Black Crime.

Police say they have persons of interest in this case and some solid leads, but they still need your help. Call the Cleveland Police Homicide Unit at 216-623-5464 with any tips and remain anonymous if you choose.

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