2 handguns, 35 shell casings recovered in fatal overnight shooting in Akron, Ohio: Police

No suspects are in custody, according to police.

June 3, 2024, 3:45 PM

Two handguns and shell casings from a variety of weapons, including an assault-style weapon, were recovered as the investigation continued into a shooting early Sunday in Akron, Ohio, that left one person dead and 24 injured when a birthday party attended by more than 100 people spilled into a street where numerous fights broke out, according to police and witnesses.

In addition to the handguns, evidence suggests the incident involved a drive-by shooting that may have prompted partygoers to return fire, Akron Police Chief Brian Harding said at a news conference Sunday night.

More than 35 shell casings from multiple weapons were recovered from a block-long crime scene, with some rounds being from an assault-style weapon, police said Sunday night.

"Based on the layout of the spent shell casings, it appears consistent with someone driving by shooting out of a car. We believe that some individuals at the party may have returned fire based on physical evidence at the scene," Harding said.

Harding, who was sworn in as a police chief last week, pleaded with community members to come forward with information about the shooting.

"We believe there were dozens of people at the party at the time of the shooting, potentially over 100 people who may have witnessed the incident," Harding said. "Every single person who may have seen something has an obligation to speak up in order to bring those responsible to justice. Even a small detail can help us crack this case and locate the suspect or suspects involved."

No arrests have been made and there are no suspects in the ongoing investigation, police said Monday.

A reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction has grown to $22,500 with contributions from Summit County Crime Stoppers, the U.S. Marshals Office and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The shooting occurred just after midnight in East Akron, followed by numerous 911 calls from witnesses reporting multiple victims were struck by bullets, according to a joint statement issued Sunday morning by Harding and Akron Mayor Shammas Malik.

Police investigate a mass shooting that erupted on June 2, 2024, that left one man dead and 28 people injured at a large street party in Akron, Ohio.

Harding said at Sunday night's news conference that police were called to a private home in the area around 10 p.m. Saturday after getting complaints of noise, including fireworks. He said officers sent to the scene found a large birthday party going on with more than 200 people "taking over the street."

Harding said officers dispersed the crowd. But after police left the scene, people returned and the party resumed, he said.

Just after midnight, officers responded to the neighborhood again after receiving reports of shots fired and local hospitals reported multiple people arriving at their respective emergency rooms with gunshot wounds.

One victim, a 27-year-old man, identified Monday by the Summit County Medical Examiner's Office as Lateris Cook, was killed in the mayhem that occurred near the intersection of Kelly and 8th avenues.

Two victims remained in critical condition, authorities said.

The injured victims' ages range from 19-43 years old, with most being in their 30s, police said.

Police investigate a mass shooting that erupted on June 2, 2024, that left one man dead and 24 people injured at a large street party in Akron, Ohio.

"This morning, our city is reeling after the devastation of senseless violence," Malik and Harding said in their joint statement. "With more than two dozen victims, the pain and trauma reverberates across all of Akron today as we search for answers. As with all acts of violence in our city, our hearts are with the victims and their loved ones."

No details were available on a motive.

"We will bring those responsible to justice, and we need the help of our community to do that," the mayor and police chief said. "For those who have information about this horrific shooting -- we need you to speak up in order to prevent further violence and retaliation. This can be done anonymously."

Witnesses told WEWS that multiple rounds of gunfire sent hundreds of people running for cover. One witness, who would only give her first name, Brittney, said the shooting broke out after the street party devolved into numerous street fights.

"There were people on the street fighting; women screaming at their men, like trying to pull them away," Brittney told WEWS. "But at this point, it got too much out of hand. There were probably 20 to 30 men fighting in the street. So I wasted no time getting through there and out of there."

Police investigate a mass shooting that erupted on June 2, 2024, that left one man dead and 24 people injured at a large street party in Akron, Ohio.

Another witness told the station that the street party transformed from a fun event to a chaotic one in seconds.

"Everyone was wearing white T-shirts; there were women on top of vehicles dancing. It looked like a scene from a spring break movie. It looked like everyone was having a good time. On our way back, it was a completely different scene," the witness said.

At least seven patients with gunshot wounds were admitted to Cleveland Clinic Akron General Hospital, including one in critical condition, hospital officials said. Following the shooting and the influx of patients, the hospital put its emergency room on a "hard lockdown" from just after midnight until 3:30 a.m., hospital spokesperson Joe Milicia told ABC News.

"That's a common procedure when you have gunshot victims," Milicia said of the lockdown.

Summa Health in Akron said it treated 15 patients Sunday morning, 13 of whom had non-life-threatening injuries. One person taken to Summa Health remained in critical condition, hospital officials said.

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