A 4-year-old girl and a man were shot and killed Friday night in Akron, Ohio, a city still reeling from last month's fatal police shooting of Black motorist Jayland Walker.
Michael A. Miller, an Akron police spokesman, said investigators believe people were gathered for a vigil and a balloon release, along with a birthday party, when the shooting occurred.
The vigil was for a man who was shot and killed last year, the Akron Beacon Journal reported. No arrests have been made, Miller said Monday.
The 4-year-old was pronounced dead at the hospital. The man, whom police identified as Johnny Gaiter, 40, was taken to the hospital in grave condition and died Saturday morning.
"Based on initial findings, there was a celebratory gathering in the nearby parking lot when one or more unknown suspects fired shots into the crowd, striking the victims," police said in a statement.
The city of Akron has issued on-and-off curfews since the shooting of Jayland Walker, 25, sparked demonstrations and protests. A 10 p.m. curfew was in place Friday. Officials said Monday morning that it would be extended to 11 p.m.
“As a family we stand for nonviolence, but we encourage protest," attorney Bobby DiCello, representing Walker's family, told reporters Monday afternoon.
"We encourage the First Amendment exercise of the pain and suffering that’s been visited upon this family. "
DiCello also called for federal authorities to join the investigation of Walker's death.
Officers tried to pulled Walker over for an unspecified traffic violation on June 27 and chased him after he wouldn’t stop, an Akron police statement said. During the pursuit, they “reported a firearm being discharged from the suspect vehicle,” police said.
After the suspect jumped out of his moving car, officers continued their chase on foot, the statement said.
“Actions by the suspect caused the officers to perceive he posed a deadly threat to them,” police said. “In response to this threat, officers discharged their firearms, striking the suspect.”
Walker was pronounced dead on the scene.
DiCello accused police of unfairly trying to paint Walker as a threat.
“They’re trying to turn him into someone to be afraid of. They’re trying to make him the problem from Day One," DiCello said. “They’ve never one time reached out to us or to apologize to this family, just a simple apology that we can celebrate."
Eight officers were placed on leave. They have not been named.
“Per departmental procedure, the officers involved have been placed on paid administrative leave,” city spokesperson Stephanie Marsh said in statement.
A review of public records found no criminal records or civil lawsuits against Walker. The single record found in Walker’s name was a 2017 speeding ticket in Akron Municipal Court.
Protesters in recent weeks have demonstrated peacefully in Akron, demanding more transparency and accountability in Walker’s death.