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Teen killed by gunfire in West Akron

4/5/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Stephanie Kist

Police search for information; reward being offered

WEST AKRON — Akron police say they cannot identify a motive or suspect in the shooting death of a 17-year-old male that occurred March 30.

Willie Brewer III, of West Akron, was shot once in the chest and killed between 3:30 and 4 p.m. in the 900 block of Copley Road, where several males had gathered in a parking lot, according to Akron Police Department Public Information Officer Lt. Rick Edwards. A second victim, Alex Watts, 55, also of West Akron, was struck in the stomach by a bullet but survived.

Edwards said there was only one shooter, and the only description of the suspect that is available is a black male wearing a black hooded sweatshirt.

“It appears that Brewer was targeted, but it appears that Alex was [hit by] a stray bullet,” Edwards said.

The victims were taken to Akron General Medical Center, where Brewer was pronounced dead.

“At this point, we still do not have a motive,” Edwards said.

He added police have reviewed surveillance video but were unable to glean anything useful.

Akron Public Schools Superintendent David James said Brewer, a former Buchtel High School football player, was a current student at Kenmore High School. James said the district’s crisis team was in place at Buchtel April 2, the first school day after the shooting, as many of Brewer’s friends attended Buchtel. The school also is in the same neighborhood where the shooting took place.

Additional security officers were called to Kenmore as well as Firestone High School April 2 in response to rumors that sparked uneasiness among the students, James said.

“Of course a lot of people are upset,” he said, adding later, “Buchtel was pretty calm.”

While some students at Kenmore asked their parents to pick them up early from school, nothing transpired of the rumors, James said.

“These things take on their own life,” he said.

Akron City Council President Marco Sommerville (D-Ward 3), whose funeral home, Sommerville Funeral Services, is handling the arrangements for Brewer, said the West Akron community, which has been a trouble spot for crime in recent years, reacted strongly to the fatal shooting.

“I think the community is just tired of all this craziness and kids not finding a way to solve their conflicts,” he said. “It’s time for the community to step up. [City] Council can’t solve these issues, nor can police.”

He encouraged witnesses or those with any information about this shooting or other incidents to go to the police or City Council members with their information.

“They need to let us know, rather than talk among themselves,” he said, adding he is concerned that another homicide could result from this event.

Edwards said up to $2,500 in reward money is being offered for information that leads to an arrest. Crimestoppers is offering $2,000 and a family friend is offering an additional $500.

Anyone with information can call the Akron Police Department at 330-375-2490 or Summit County Crimestoppers at 330-434-2677. Anonymous tips also may be submitted at akronohio.gov/asp/tip.html.

According to Sommerville, visitation will take place today, April 5, from 6 to 9 p.m. and tomorrow, April 6, from 10 to 11 a.m. at Mountain of the Lord Fellowship on Copley Road. Services will follow April 6 at 11 a.m. For more information, the funeral home can be reached at 330-836-2725.

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