CLEVELAND, OH – Two individuals have been apprehended by Cleveland police following the fatal shooting of a 3-year-old boy, marking the second child-involved shooting in a week. The incident, which also left a 31-year-old man injured, occurred on W. 66th Street near Denison on Thursday afternoon. The young boy’s mother and infant brother narrowly escaped the gunfire.
The victim, identified as Luis Diaz, was in a car with his mother and 11-month-old brother when he was shot in the back. The adult male victim was hit in the hip. Eyewitnesses reported hearing an altercation before at least eight gunshots were fired. This incident follows a similar one last week where a 6-month-old girl and her father were shot in Garfield Heights. Three individuals were arrested in connection with that case.
Local pastor Jake Streeter, who leads the Denison Avenue United Church of Christ, expressed his concern over the escalating violence. He emphasized the need for individuals and families to address the root causes of this kind of violence. Streeter believes that the issue of mental health is not being adequately addressed, contributing to the ongoing criminal behavior. He also noted that while there are programs aimed at addressing these issues, many are underfunded or lack funding altogether.
Mike Dee, a martial arts instructor who interacts with local children, shared that many of them are acutely aware of the gun violence and live in fear. Dee believes that communities cannot solely rely on police presence and must take proactive measures to educate children about the dangers of violence and the influence of gangs.
While two arrests have been made in connection with the fatal shooting on W. 66th Street, no charges have been filed yet. The police are continuing their investigation to identify other potential suspects.