UPDATED 4:50 a.m. The victims of Saturday's fire that left four dead and two injured were identified by their pastor. Rev. Zach Prosser of Celebration Church in Akron told Cleveland.com the adults are Omar Riley and Shirley Wallis, who had been together for 12 years. Their daughters, nine year old Aniyla and and eight year old Shanice, also perished in the blaze. Prosser identified the 12-year old victim as Wallis' daughter Shaniya, who was listed in critical condition at Akron Children's Hospital.

Another victim, Jennifer Grubbs, was also injured when she jumped out of the attic from the flames according to her fiancee. He was not in the home at the time of the fire. The flames first showed in the back of the house according to a neighbor's home security camera video, according to reports.

Previous coverage

An early morning Saturday blaze left four people dead, two injured. The Akron Fire Department reports the house fire at 266 East Tallmadge Avenue was "heavily involved" when they arrived about five minutes after the call at 1:33 a.m. Arriving firefighters were able to pull five of the six victims from the home. Among the dead are an eight and nine year old; News5 reports a 12-year old jumped from a second floor window to escape the flames and is in critical condition. An adult was also pulled from the home and was also injured.

Video from the scene is at the News5 link above

Names and other details of the victims were not released. There is no cause of the blaze at this time. 

No smoke detectors were found in the home, which reportedly was a rental property. The American Red Cross is reminding area residents smoke detectors are free throughout northeast Ohio, and the Akron Fire Department provides free installation in partnership with the Red Cross. Mayor Dan Horrigan said he was "deeply saddened" by the tragedy...and will see to it hat the victims' families and the survivors are supported in this time of great sorrow and need."

The children were enrolled in Akron Public Schools, one at Seiberling Elementary and another at Forest Hills Elementary. The 12-year old is a student at Hyre Middle School. APS spokesman Mark Williamson said ""Akron Public Schools and its community of families are profoundly saddened by this loss of two precious children and other members of their family. Three of our schools have felt this tragedy, deeply, and will be visited by our counselors this week for assistance. We offer our heartfelt prayers."

There was also reaction from LeBron James and the LeBron James Family Foundation; the children were members of his Wheels for Education program. James tweeted he was "unbelievably saddened to hear the news. My heart hurts...our family lost two bright, bright stars." 

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(Akron Fire Department) Firefighters responded to a two and a half story residential house fire. Upon arrival the first floor was heavily involved in smoke and flames. People were reported to be trapped inside so an immediate interior fire attack was taken for rescue. The call came in at 01:33 and by 01:38 the first Engine was on scene.

Through the heavy heat and smoke (no visibility) 5 of the 6 victims were pulled from the house within the first few minutes of arrival. The cause of the fire is still under investigation but it was noted that smoke detectors could not be located throughout the house.

The fire caused four fatalilties. Two adults and two children, 8 and 9 year old. Two other victims were transported and are still ithe hospital. Unknown condition at the time of this press release. Names, relationships, and genders were not given while investigation is on going. One firefighter was transported for minor injuries and released.

(American Red Cross) We are deeply saddened by the loss of life resulting from a home fire in Akron early Saturday morning. Our hearts go out to the families affected by this tragedy.

The Red Cross partners with many Fire Departments in Northeast Ohio, including the Akron Fire Department, to provide and install smoke alarms, free of charge, to any resident who requests the alarms. We also provide valuable fire safety information, and help residents develop plans to escape from their homes should a fire occur. The initiative is call Operation Save-A-Life.

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan helped launch Operation Save-a-Life at a home in Akron earlier this year.

Akron residents can call 330-535-2030 to request a home fire safety inspection and free smoke alarms. In Cleveland, residents can call 216-361-5535. Youngstown residents may call 866-319-7160. Elsewhere
throughout Northeast Ohio, residents can log onto redcross.org/neo to request smoke alarms for their homes. 

We are grateful for our partnerships with so many fire departments, corporations and community groups for helping to provide this valuable, potentially life-saving service, and we urge all residents to check their homes for working smoke alarms, and to contact us at the numbers or website above if they need smoke alarms for their homes for working smoke alarms, and to contact us at the numbers above.

(City of Akron) Early this morning the Akron Fire Department responded to an advanced-stage fire in a three-story house on East Tallmadge Avenue.

The Fire Department acted quickly to extinguish the flames and rescue the individuals inside. Tragically, two adults and two children lost their lives in the fire. One adult and one child have survived and are being treated for their injuries.

"My family, the Akron Fire Department, and the entire Akron community, are profoundly saddened by this devastating incident. Any time our community experiences a loss such as this, it reminds us how precious life is," said Mayor Dan Horrigan. 'My deepest sympathies and prayers are with the family members of those who lost their lives, as we continue to pray for strength and healing for the survivors being treated. We will see to it that the victims' families and the survivors are supported in this time of great sorrow and need.

There is no higher duty we have as city leaders than to protect the health and safety of our residents and I thank the Akron Fire Department for their bravery in responding to this fire and for their attempts to rescue those trapped inside. I offer my full support and confidence as the professionals work to investigate the cause of this fire." 

(Akron Public Schools) "Akron Public Schools and its community of families are profoundly saddened by this loss of two precious children and other members of their family. Three of our schools have felt this tragedy, deeply, and will be visited by our counselors this week for assistance. We offer our heartfelt prayers."

 

Thursday, 01 December 2016 11:00

RIP Longtime Radio Personality Jim Chenot

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We've learned this morning of the passing of longtime Akron radio personality Jim Chenot (SHEN-oh), who spent much of his radio career here at Rubber City Radio Group on 97.5 WONE and also at 91.3 The Summit.

Jim was well-known as a great fan of local music and broadcasting. He worked on morning radio on WONE for years, paired with partner Kathy Vogel and exhibited a great love of music, especially the Fab Four recalls WONE Program Director Tim Daugherty.

 

 

Thursday, 01 December 2016 10:56

Tucker Promoted AFD Chief

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Akron has a new fire chief, and Chief Clarence Tucker will be the second African-American to hold the post inthe Department's history.

Mayor Dan Horrigan made the announcement today following several months of interviews; he fills the void left open when Chief Edward Hiltbrand retired in September. Retired Akron Fire Department Chief Larry Bunner served as Interim Chief during the selection progcess.

Tucker becomes the AFD's 19th chief and has 28 years of service with the department.

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ClarenceTucker AFD(City of Akron) Today Mayor Dan Horrigan announced his selection of Clarence I. Tucker to serve as Akron's next Fire Chief. This announcement comes after a months-long competitive selection process and several rounds of interviews. Tucker currently serves as a District Fire Chief, where he manages the City's Fire Prevention Bureau, which oversees fire inspection, public education, and arson units. Mayor Horrigan administered the oath of office to Tucker this morning at Akron Fire Station No. 7 on Tallmadge Avenue—the firehouse where Tucker was first stationed when he joined the Department nearly three decades ago.

Tucker will be the City's 19th Fire Chief and the second African American to hold this top post in the 180 year history of the Department. Charles R. Gladman served as the City's first African American Fire Chief from 1997 to 2007. Tucker's promotion was prompted by the retirement of Chief Edward Hiltbrand in September of this year. Retired Akron Fire Chief Larry Bunner temporarily returned to the City to serve as Interim Chief while the Mayor selected a permanent successor.

Clarence Tucker will enter the position with 28 years of dedicated service and experience with the Akron Fire Department. He will lead a Department of 326 uniform personnel and 24 support personnel beginning Monday, December 5, 2016. Tucker joined the Akron Fire Department on September 12, 1988 as a firefighter/medic. He was promoted to the position of Lieutenant in 2000, Captain in 2005, and officially promoted to District Chief in 2015 (having served provisionally prior to that). Among many other leadership roles he has undertaken during his career, Tucker has managed the City's hazardous materials response team and chaired the Summit County Local Emergency Planning Committee.In 2005, Tucker completed a five-year program of Executive Fire Service

Management training from the Executive Development Institute through the International Institute of Black Professional Firefighters. He went on to earn his Bachelor's Degree in Business Management from Malone University in 2009, and this month he completed the program to receive his Executive Fire Officer certification from the National Fire Academy, where he was exposed to a cutting-edge curriculum designed to teach leading fire officers how to address difficult and unique challenges
facing modern communities.

"I was fortunate to be presented with several highly qualified and exemplary public servants as candidates for this position," Mayor Horrigan said of his selection. "In Clarence, I found an immensely prepared and well-respected leader with an enormous heart for this community."

"My vision for the future of the Akron Fire Department is to forge new, innovative partnerships, develop creative solutions to deep-rooted challenges like the opiate epidemic, and to continue our honored tradition of running a prepared, professional, and compassionate Fire Department. I have full confidence that Clarence will bring strong, steady leadership and a commitment to excellent customer service and patient care to this position."

Of his promotion Tucker said, "It is my honor and privilege to continue my service to this City and this Department as Fire Chief. I join the Mayor in thanking all of the hardworking men and women of this Department for everything they do, both on the
front lines and behind the scenes, every day, to keep us safe. I look forward to working together to continuously improve our performance and our service to the citizens of Akron."

Thursday, 01 December 2016 09:49

Ravenna Shooting Leaves Three Dead

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An afternoon shooting near Ravenna High School Wednesday left the students and teachers on lockdown -- and has now claimed three lives.

Channel 3 News reports the Portage County Cornoner identified the victims of the shootings as  33-year old Lashaun Sanders of Ravenna and 32-year old Sara Marsh of Kent, who was pregnant. Her baby did not survive the shooting.  Marsh died at the hospital.

Police are looking for 25-year old David Darnell Calhoun Jr., who remains at large. Ravenna residents are being asked to keep doors locked and be on alert.

The high school was locked down shortly before 2:30 yesterday afternoon on the first reports of the shooting on Henderson Road, not far from the school. Students, faculty and workers remained in the building but the lockdown was lifted about a half-hour later. Those with their own vehicles were escorted to their cars or trucks in the high school parking lot, and buses resumed pickup of students.

Thursday, 01 December 2016 08:13

Akron Man Dead On Snowy Driveway

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An Akron man is dead after he was hit by a tractor on a driveway in Colorado. Police say 60-year old Terry Stout and a brother were traveling to their ranch in New Castle but they crashed on the steep driveway and got up to walk toward home. At the same time, an employee on the ranch was traveling down the driveway to help but slid into Stout, who wasn't able to get out of the way.

The coroner in Garfield County, Colorado told The Denver Post the cause of death appears to be blunt force trauma consistent with being struck by a vehicle, but an autopsy was still pending. At this point, the death has been ruled an accident.

Stout's family owns R.B. Stout Landscaping; he was a 1974 graduate of Firestone High school. He leaves three children behind.

The Stout Ranch describes itself as a home for avid hunters but also hosted polo matches; in addition to beautiful views adjacent to publicly-owned land, the ranch pieced together various tracts of land that served as hunting grounds for the Ute tribe. The land was first homesteaded in 1903, and became the Stout Ranch in 1993 and included at least two ponds and fields on the property near New Castle, Colorado. 

Wednesday, 30 November 2016 12:49

APD Looking For UPS Grinch

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Apparently one Akron thief missed the memo about Santa's elves wearing brown this holiday season.

Akron police say a delivery driver in a marked UPS vehicle was robbed at gunpoint while delivering packages after hours on Packard Drive. The driver was able to make it to the truck safely and fled the area, leaving the gun-toting thief behind. The suspect fled on foot.

The gun-toting Grinch was wearing a dark hoodie and something covering his face.

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s. (Akron PD) Shortly before 7:00pm last night, a delivery driver in a marked U.P.S. truck was delivering a package in the 1200 block of Packard Drive.

As the U.P.S. driver was walking back to his parked truck, a male approached the driver. The U.P.S. driver stated the male pulled a handgun from his waistband. The U.P.S. driver then jumped into his truck and gassed the engine and fled the area. The suspect fled in an unknown direction.

The suspect is a black male, 20 – 25 years old, 5'04" – 5'07", 150 – 160 lbs., and was wearing a dark colored hooded sweatshirt and something covering his face.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016 09:53

Cops Looking For Shooting Suspect

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Akron police and the U.S. Marshals Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Tas Force could use a helping hand finding an Akron fugitive.

Police say 25-year old Finess Terry is wanted after a gunfight in a car parked on the 300 block of Chittenden Avenue in March. One of the bullets sailed into a nearby house and injured a 63-year old woman sitting inside; she was treated for non life-threatening injuries.

Terry is considered armed and dangerous and anyone with information should call police and not attempt to stop Terry themselves.

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(Akron PD) The Akron Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force are asking for assistance from the public for information that could lead to the arrest of Finess A. Terry. Terry is wanted for felonious assault and discharging firearm into habitation.

On March 24, 2016 around 6:00pm, Finess Terry was involved in a gunfight with other males in a car in the 300 block of Chittenden Street. A stray bullet went through a house on Chittenden Street and struck a 63 year old female inside. The female victim was transported to a local hospital where she was treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Finess Terry is a black male, 25 years old, 5'09" and 160 lbs. His last known address was on Duane Avenue in Akron.

Finess Terry should be considered armed and dangerous.

Anyone knowing his whereabouts is encouraged to call the Akron Police Department, Detective Bureau at 330-375-2490; the U.S. Marshals Service at 1-866-4-WANTED; or the Summit County Crimestoppers Inc. at 330-434-COPS. Callers can remain anonymous.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016 09:44

Father Who Burned Baby Found Guilty

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A young father who burned his baby daughter while giving her a bath will be sentenced next month on felonious assault and child endangering charges.

Prosecutors say 18-year old Demetrius Ford of Akron guilty of the charges. His daughter was severely burned with second and third degree burns on her body and face after being held in scalding hot water; she also suffered a skull fracture and broken ribs. Ford was 17 at the time. The child's mother, 21-year old Chavelle Fries, is currently on probation after pleading guilty to two counts of child endangering.

Ford is scheduled to be sentenced December 27th.

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(Summit County Prosecutor) Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh announced today that a Summit County jury found Demetrius Ford, 18, of Cumberland Drive in Akron, guilty of burning his four-month old daughter.

Ford was found guilty of the following charges:

Felonious Assault – a felony of the 2nd degree
Two Counts of Child Endangering – felonies of the 2nd degree

In February of 2016, Ford, who was 17-years-old at the time, was giving his four-month old daughter a bath. The infant suffered severe second and third degree burns to her face, shoulders, and chest. At trial, a child abuse expert testified the baby was purposefully submerged in the scalding hot water. Investigators also discovered the baby suffered a skull fracture and broken ribs.

The child's mother, 21-year-old Chavelle Grier, was also charged in the case. On May 10, 2016, Grier pled guilty to two counts of Child Endangering and is currently on probation.

On July 27, 2016, Juvenile Court Judge Linda Teodosio ruled Ford was not amenable to rehabilitation in the juvenile court and the case was bound over to Summit County Common Pleas Court.

Ford is scheduled to be sentenced on December 27, 2016 at 9am.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016 09:34

Rapist-Killer Jones Gets Life As An Adult

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A man who was a teenager when he raped and murdered his three year old half-sister will have life in prison to remember his crime.

Juvenile Court Judge Linda Teodosio sentenced D'Marques Jones of Barberton, now 20, to the life term with the eligibility of parole after 25 years. Jones was only 15 when his sister, Makayla, was taken to the hospital. Doctors later said the injuries were so horrific they included a perforated colon; the child was taken off life support after a few days at the hospital. At the time of the crime, the Summit County Prosecutor's Office tried to have Jones tried as an adult but he was ruled "amenable to rehabilitation" and was found guilty of murder and rape in Juvenile Court. He received a "blended" sentence, which allowed for him to serve time in custody until the age of 21 at which point he could have been released.

Teodosio ruled Jones would have to serve the remainder of the sentence as an adult after he refused to take a court-ordered treatment program for sex offenders, then didn't complete the program. He never expressed remorse for his actions.

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(Summit County Prosecutor) Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh announced today that on Wednesday November 23, 2016, Summit County Juvenile Court Judge Linda Teodosio sentenced D'Marques Jones, 20, of Barberton, to life in prison, invoking the adult portion of Jones' 2013 juvenile court sentence. Jones will be eligible for parole after 25 years.

In 2011, Jones was 15 when he brutally raped and murdered his 3-year-old half-sister Makayla. Doctors discovered Makayla's colon was perforated and she was septic. Makayla died a few days later when she was taken off life support. At the time, the Summit County Prosecutor's Office fought to have Jones tried as an adult for the crime. The Summit County Juvenile Court determined Jones was amenable to rehabilitation and retained jurisdiction.

On December 13, 2012, a Summit County jury found Jones guilty of Murder and Rape. Because of changes to the law, this was the first jury trial in Summit County Juvenile Court history.

In January of 2013, Jones received a "blended" juvenile and adult sentence, and was placed in the custody of the Ohio Department of Youth Services until his 21st birthday. With a blended sentence, the juvenile is required to successfully complete all required programs and have no conduct violations by age 21. If they are successful, they are released from incarceration. If they are not successful, the juvenile may be ordered to complete the additional adult sentence. The Department of Youth Services maintains jurisdiction over a juvenile until they turn 21.

Following the jury's verdict, Jones refused to engage in court ordered sex offender treatment. Three years after his sentence, in March of 2016, Jones eventually agreed to be placed in the first of two phases of sex offender treatment but did not successfully complete that program. ODYS records documented Jones' desire to put off his treatment as long as possible, and he never expressed remorse towards his victim for what he did. Even at his sentencing hearing, D'Marques Jones gave an impassioned plea to the court apologizing for not working harder at treatment and for the harm he's done his family, but never once did he acknowledge the harm he did to his 3-year-old victim.

The Prosecutor's Office requested the Court to impose the suspended adult sentence to protect the community from the substantial risk Jones posed upon his imminent release: as an untreated and unsupervised sex offender and murderer. The Court recognized that risk and granted the State's Motion. The average juvenile sex offender sent to the ODYS spends between one and one-and-a-half years there, and is able to complete sex offender treatment in seven to nine months. D'Marques Jones was committed to ODYS for over three-and-a-half-years and could not successfully complete even half the sex offender treatment program.

"Our job is to protect the community and keep the citizens of Summit County safe," said Prosecutor Walsh. "D'Marques Jones refused to undergo sex offender treatment after he raped and murdered his 3-year-old sister. Allowing him to go into the community untreated and unsupervised after such a heinous crime was not an option."

Jones was also labeled a Tier III sex offender. If Jones is ever released from prison, he will have to register with the local sheriff's department every 90 days for the rest of his life.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016 09:30

Nightclub Killer Sentenced

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A fight that started inside the Desiree's strip club in Norton and ended in a death outside on the parking lot is sending a local man to prison for eight years. 37-year old Robert Lantz, Jr. of New Franklin was sentenced for involuntary manslaughter in the death of Daniel Carraway, 63. 

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(Summit Prosecutor) Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh announced today that Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Scot Stevenson sentenced Robert Lantz Jr., 37, of Lullaby Lane in New Franklin, to eight years in prison for causing the death of a man at a Norton nightclub.

On August 26, 2016 Lantz pled guilty to the following charge:

Involuntary Manslaughter – a felony of the 1st degree

On November 19, 2015, Lantz physically assaulted 63-year-old Daniel Carraway at Desiree's in Norton. After they were kicked out of the bar, Lantz again attacked Carraway in the parking lot. Police arrived and found Carraway unresponsive. Carraway was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

"Daniel Carraway did not deserve to be brutally beaten and bludgeoned to death. His family continues to suffer because of the actions of Mr. Lantz," said Prosecutor Walsh. "Mr. Lantz will have eight years in prison to think about how his aggressive and violent behavior led to the death of a Marine veteran who served his country with honor."