AKRON, Ohio — Twenty-month-old Tyree Halsell’s life ended earlier than it even started.
“It was snuffed out and it was mindless,” mentioned Wonderous Halsell, his grandma. “He was simply beginning to get the grasp of issues. He was simply beginning to discover issues.”
For Wonderous Halsell, the ache of his loss continues to be as contemporary because the day it occurred.
“He was a stunning boy,” mentioned Halsell. “You took my candy angel.”
Tyree died in August in a drive-by taking pictures on Akron’s east aspect, and greater than 6 months later, his killer nonetheless has not been caught.
“In the event that they discover the killer, they discover the killer. However I do know who’s going to search out him first and that’s God,” she mentioned.
The Halsell household shouldn’t be alone of their grief, as Tyree was considered one of a number of youngsters who misplaced their lives to violence in Akron in 2020.
Lt. Michael Miller with the Akron Police Division mentioned they’re working to guarantee that doesn’t occur once more.
“If this summer season, particularly, has taught us something, it allowed us to listen to the wants and the pleas from the group,” he mentioned. “The message for the group is, merely, that now we have not forgotten. We now have not forgotten. These incidents have had a ripple impact throughout the group and it has the total consideration of our senior management on the police division.”
Lt. Miller mentioned that plea was to make the streets safer.
“We imagine that getting these weapons off the road, hopefully, we are going to begin to see it pay dividends with reducing the variety of incidents,” he mentioned.
In January alone, the division seized 98 unlawful weapons, 21 greater than this time final yr. Officers arrested 83 individuals on gun-related costs like aggravated housebreaking, aggravated theft, carrying hid weapons, felonious assault and homicide.
“We’re tasked with developing with a recreation plan to attempt to tackle a few of this, so, a few of these numbers that you just see mirrored are only a snapshot of a few of these efforts.”
He mentioned they’ve utilized a data-driven strategy that identifies the areas hardest hit by violent crime and can proceed to work diligently to get weapons out of the fingers of criminals.
Leanne Graham with the Sufferer Help Program, a nonprofit group that serves Summit County residents who’re impacted by disaster, mentioned the quantity of people that have reached out for assist in the neighborhood has skyrocketed in 2020. She mentioned the start of 2021 has additionally been extraordinarily busy.
“ January’s numbers, about 400 victims utilized our hotline companies for help for a lot of completely different tragedies they are going by way of,” she mentioned. “We have served 37 particular person individuals who have misplaced a liked one or a member of the family to a murder right here in Summit County, simply in January alone.”
She mentioned she, too, has been selecting up the telephone and calling different group stakeholders to see what extra could be performed.
“To attempt to decide, is there a nationwide program on the market that does work and could be replicated in our group to lower the violence?”
For Halsell, confiscating unlawful weapons is bittersweet as a result of whereas she believes it’s going to make the streets safer, it received’t convey Tyree again.
“In the event that they get a few of these weapons out of right here, it might be a significantly better place,” she mentioned.