Surveillance video taken at a Cleveland gas station shows an armed group of teens who arrived in three stolen cars attacking and savagely beating a man in the parking lot and then engaging in a shootout with an unseen target. The attack took place after midnight on Tuesday. A dozen juveniles aged 12 to 16, nine boys and three girls, were arrested within two hours of the attack. The victim, a 34-year-old man, was not shot and was eventually able to take refuge inside the gas station. The stolen cars, two Hyundai and one Kia, had been taken Monday night.
The attack took place at a Shell gas station at East 140th Street and St. Clair Ave.
Unknown suspect No. 1, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office photo.
One of the attackers pulled out an AR-15-style rifle from his pants and set it down on the parking lot pavement so he could join in the beatdown of the victim. Another teen in the mob picked up the rifle and brandished it. At one point the victim was picked up and body-slammed. As is the fashion, the victim’s low-hanging pants dropped to his knees during the attack, inhibiting his escape.
Cleveland Police Chief Wayne Drummond called the attack “animalistic behavior,” reported WEWS-TV:
Drummond elaborated on how law enforcement plans to keep violent offenders like those arrested Tuesday off the streets. “I’m not a proponent of mass incarceration. Let’s get that clear. I am not,” he said. “But I am a proponent of keeping our neighborhoods safe. And if that means putting juveniles violent — that’s the key — violent juveniles behind bars to make our neighborhoods safe, then I’m a proponent for that. What we’re seeing there is animalistic. And people may come back and say, I can’t believe the chief said that but look at that video — to attack that man who was doing absolutely nothing, it’s animalistic behavior. And we can’t have that in our communities — we’ll not accept that.”
Cleveland Police Chief Wayne Drummond, official photo.
Video of the attack and gunfire:
Video from police briefing:
Excerpts from Cleveland media reports on the arrests of the juvenile suspects:
“When I watched this video early yesterday morning, I was disgusted and appalled watching the level of violence directed at someone who appears to be simply doing nothing but sitting outside of a gas station,” said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley. “Several minutes later, the situation turns to complete chaos. Dozens of bullets are fired indiscriminately down St. Clair Avenue, and it could have caused a great deal of destruction. Thankfully, no one was injured by these dozens of bullets.”
Before driving away, the teens fired shots at another vehicle, authorities said.
“Now, I believe in our investigation, and our investigators will prove more to this point that they’re probably involved in multiple incidents,” said Cleveland Police Chief Wayne Drummond. “We believe that we have a group of folks out there who call themselves the ‘Kia Boys.’ We believe these individuals are part of that, as well, with all the stolen Kias and the weapons that they have. And they’re very callous in their behaviors and their actions and so forth.”
When police responded to the scene, they spotted two white Hyundais and a black SUV “driving at a dangerously high rate of speed, with occupants hanging out of the car windows.
…Later that morning, officers were sent to a nearby home for screams heard coming from it. When they arrived, police said that officers found two white Hyundais parked at the house. The resident gave officers permission to come in, where they found multiple teens hiding in the basement.
Authorities said that two of the teens were armed, and several others needed medical care for what appeared to be injuries sustained in a car crash. Thirteen were detained, and police had probable cause to charge 12 of them, said Cuyahoga County’s Juvenile Division Chief Brett Kyker.”
Officers arrested the youths hours later after a resident called police to report a group of kids hanging out at an abandoned house.
Of the twelve teenagers charged, 11 are being held in the county’s juvenile detention center. They face charges ranging from receiving stolen property to felonious assault and aggravated rioting.
The youngest of the group, a 12-year-old girl, is charged with receiving stolen property, but she did not participate in the violence.
Four of the teenagers had pending cases in Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court. Three of them were previously arrested in stolen cars. The fourth was charged with improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle, all low-level offenses.
Another four had previous convictions for similar offenses.
Several of the juveniles involved in the attack were arrested just after 2 a.m. that morning, after a resident reported seeing the kids at a vacant house along Delavan Avenue. When police arrived, they found two of the three stolen vehicles from the gas station. They arrested 13 juveniles — nine boys and three girls — and recovered two firearms, Kyker said.
Authorities analyzed the surveillance footage to obtain probable cause to charge 12 of them, Kyker said:
Twelve of them were charged with receiving a stolen motor vehicle.
Seven were charged with felonious assault and aggravated riot.
Seven were charged with improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle.
One was charged with carrying a concealed weapon.
Five were charged with having a weapon while under disability, due to prior convictions or outstanding warrants in other cases.
Two of them were charged with discharging a firearm on or near prohibited premises.
Authorities held the juveniles for several hours while working through the process to have them detained at a juvenile justice center. O’Malley said Wednesday he expects most of the suspects will remain in detention “through the end of their cases,” though that’s up to a judge’s discretion, he added.
O’Malley said at the outset of the Wednesday briefing that many juvenile suspects in armed carjackings are quickly released and end up reoffending.
Cleveland is a Democrat run city. It’s last Republican mayor, George Voinovich, held office in the 1980s.