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1 Dead, 24 Wounded in Apparent Drive-By Shooting at Large Outdoor Party

A least one person is dead and two dozen more wounded when gunfire erupted at a large outdoor party early Sunday morning in the East Akron neighborhood of the Ohio city.

Akron Police Chief Brian Harding said investigators found two handguns and more than 35 spent shell casings in the area. The casings were “consistent with someone driving by and shooting out of a car,” he said, adding that investigators believe “some individuals at the party may have returned fire.”

The casings were from “multiple different weapons,” he said, adding that one of them “appears to be a rifle.” Police did not identify the fatality but said he was 27. Two other victims are in critical condition, Harding said at a news conference early Sunday evening. Akron Police Chief Brian Harding said the vicitms ranged in age from 19 to 43.

No arrests have been made.

Harding said officers had been called to the scene about two hours before the shooting for a noise complaint and dispersed the large crowd of about 200 who were attending a birthday party. After the officers left, however, the crowd began to return. Shortly after midnight, 911 calls began reporting shots fired at the same location, while hospitals began reporting the arrival of gunshot victims.

Detectives do not have a description of the car they believe was involved with the shooting or any suspect information.

Harding and Akron Mayor Shammas Malik said officials were concerned about the possibility of a retaliation for the Sunday morning shooting and urged people in the community to come forward.

Video from the home of former Councilwoman Tara Mosley Weems, who lives nearby, shows people running from the scene:

Weems told the Akron Beacon Journal that the party was celebrating the birthday of a young man she’d known since he was a child.

“He’s a very likeable young man — very likeable, good kid,” Mosley Weems said. “Everybody knows their family. Most of us have lived in that neighborhood our entire lives. All of us really have.”

She encouraged anyone with information to come forward. CrimeStoppers has offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction, Malik said, and the US Marshals Service has added an additional $7,500.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Akron Police Department Detective Bureau at 330-375-2490 or Summit County Crimestoppers at 330-434-COPS or text TIPSCO with your tips to 274637.

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