ELYRIA — Community members voiced concerns and frustrations after Tuesday’s police shooting that left one person dead.
Frank Whitfield, an independent Elyria mayoral candidate, hosted an event at House of Healing Ministries on West Avenue that allowed people to speak about their own experiences with police and also ask questions.
Officers on Tuesday afternoon pulled over a vehicle at the East Avenue Marathon gas station in Carlisle Township that was suspected to contain those who fired shots by an apartment on Park Meadow Lane. Police said an occupant pointed a weapon at officers, at which point they fired.
People sat around tables and asked questions that don’t have any answers yet. Many discussed the videos of the shooting that circulated on social media.
Others voiced frustrations with how quickly they thought police fired on the two men in the vehicle.
Marcus Madison, an Elyria councilman, asked the audience to give the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office time as it investigates the incident.
He encouraged community members to get involved with their community and help it go forward from here.
“We want to continue to build bridges, not walls,” Madison said. “And that’s what tonight is all about.”
Two police officers were in the crowd and sat at the tables to speak with residents. Later, they stood in a hallway and answered residents’ questions.
Officer James Welsh said they wanted to listen to what people had to say and hear out frustrations, even if they couldn’t comment on the investigation itself.
Some people brought signs that said “Justice for Zay” and “Hands up, don’t shoot” for Isaiah Robinson, 39, who was shot and later died from his wounds.
After the event, a small group went to the Marathon gas station and gathered at the corner of East Avenue and Fuller Road for a vigil for Robinson.
Due to tension in the community following shooting, police amped up security at Elyria’s July Fourth fireworks show, with officers from departments around the county helping with staffing.
“We’re here tonight to start the process of healing and start the process of understanding,” Whitfield said at the event. “I truly believe that what we need to do is create a table where the community and the police sit together as brothers and sisters, as equals, to talk to each other, to listen to each other, to respect each other.”