Image source: WKYC screenshot
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Nine people were injured in a mass shooting in downtown Cleveland early Sunday morning, officials said at a press conference.
The incident took place at about 2:25 a.m. in downtown Cleveland on West 6th and Johnson Court, Cleveland Police Chief Wayne Drummond told reporters at a press conference.
Two uniformed officers and their marked cars were "right at the corner" of West St. Clair and West 6th when a person began firing into a crowd. Additional officers were also in the immediate area, Drummond said.
"The shooter struck nine individuals. The officers immediately ran toward the gunfire to the victims and rendered first aid."
Seven of the victims were men and two were woman. Victims ranged in age from 23-38. One male was in serious condition after the shooting. The remaining victims suffered non life-threatening injuries, officials said.
"It's not a matter of police response. It's not a matter of police visibility, because we were here," Chief Drummond said, explaining that officers are assigned to the area where the shooting took place as part of their regular detail and are readily visible.
The suspect is a black male who may have had a gold grill in his mouth, Chief Drummond said, adding that officials do have some leads. He said they have no indication from their investigators regarding what may prompted the shooting.
Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb, a Democrat, took aim at Ohio Republicans after the shooting, appearing to blame the opposing party, to some extent, for the shooter's actions.
"Last summer, the Republican-led legislature in Columbus passed Senate Bill 215. And across this state from Cleveland to Columbus to Cincinnati, we've seen an uptick in shootings across our state," Bibb said.
"We need Republicans in Columbus to give us mayors more tools to get guns off our streets."
"I'm sick and tired of Republicans ... blaming us as mayors for violent crime ... It's important that we hold them accountable for passing dangerous gun laws in our state that make it hard to keep our communities safe and secure."
It is not clear to which "tool" Bibb might have been referring that would have stopped the shooting.
"Every weekend we have a large police presence here in the Warehouse District," Bibb also said, referencing the area where the shooting took place. Bibb praised the quick response time of police and EMS personnel.
Gov. Mike DeWine (R) signed Senate Bill 215 into law March 14, 2022, and the law became active 90 days later. The "Constitutional carry" or "permitless carry" law allows people over age 21 to carry a concealed handgun without a permit.
Drummond emphasized that even "adding 2,000 officers" would not have stopped what transpired.
It will take a "holistic approach, economic development, prevention, intervention, opportunities" to "help turn things around," Drummond said.
"It is important to note we cannot change human behavior ... we're dealing with the symptoms ... but we're going to do our very best, and I think we're doing a good job, to hold those responsible for committing these heinous acts. We're going to find that individual and hold him accountable."
Watch coverage from WKYC below of a mass shooting in Cleveland's Warehouse District Sunday that injured nine people.
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