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Fireworks shot into Popeyes on Fourth of July destroys restaurant in Cleveland (photos)

Updated: Jul. 5, 2018 at 3:54 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- It looked like a war zone.

That's the way Sgt. Major Herbert Stokes of the Black Man Army described what he saw when he drove past Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen on Euclid Avenue at Cliffview Road.

Large double-paned glass windows were shattered, burned spots were in the grass and broken glass was everywhere.

The nearby RTA shelter was demolished, including the plexiglass roof.

The evidence of what caused the damage was visible all over the parking lot -- the remnants of thousands of rounds of exploded fireworks.

It appeared many were intentionally aimed at the restaurant and bus shelter.

"These are fireworks, deadly fireworks this is shot out with this OK this much power that it can do this to those windows right here," Stokes said as he picked up a spent shell.

Some of the projectiles were found inside the store.

You can see metal casings that hold the windows are deeply dented and stained with burnt gunpowder residue is all around.

It upsets Stokes who cares deeply about his community.

"Your celebrating, but you're tearin' down your neighborhood. We want these businesses in our neighborhood. Patronize these businesses and stuff like this but this is what happens," he said as he pointed to blocks of other businesses who just pulled up stakes and left.

He and the army he leads have worked tirelessly but still the most troubling part of the story remains.

A hopelessness or resignation to the status quo.

A woman passing by shrugged her shoulders and said "We should do something about it but what can we do. It's like there's nothing for us to do."

Hours later there was still a strong smell of gunpowder.

There is the broken glass, burned grass even a dead bird but the biggest take away is fear.

A neighbor said, "Broke windows in the store here, it's in your neighborhood. I worry about it, it's unsafe."

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