Eight Arrested at Shaker Heights 4th of July Fireworks Celebration

Arrests of six adults and two youths were for fighting, police chief says.

Shaker Heights police arrested eight people for disorderly conduct Wednesday during the city's 4th of July fireworks celebration, Police Chief D. Scott Lee said.

Arrested were six adults and two juveniles, accused of engaging in several fights while community members watched the fireworks display.

None of those arrested were Shaker residents, Lee said. While received reports that shots were fired, Lee said, "we did not find any evidence of shots being fired nor did anybody report being shot at.

"I don't think there's any community that doesn't report shots being fired on the 4th of July."

Lee said the fights were contained to those involved, and no injuries were reported by bystanders. Shaker Heights police already had additional officers in the area of for the event, but called on more resources when the fights broke out. Departments from Cleveland and were among those that provided support.

"Unfortunately, that's what undermines these kinds of events," Lee said. "It's a shame.

"They needed to be arrested to provide safety to the rest of the community."

Check back for updates on arrests and charges.

Garry Kanter July 05, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Thanks for bringing clarity, and not exaggeration, in reporting on an unfortunate situation. Your prompt attention to the wild rumors in the comments section is appreciated.
Michael Lawrence July 05, 2012 at 04:46 PM
i was there, it was a mess! so annoying, i figured those kids were not from shaker, i wont be surprised if they cancel next years, it really wasnt familys, it was just rowdy youth & they filled the streets afterwards for hours in that area.
Donna July 05, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Thanks for reporting. I was there and shots were fired though. The best part is no one got hurt. Being new to the shaker Highra community I really love it. My neighbors are fabulous! I love what Shaker offers to the community. I do feel safe here.
Steve Smith July 05, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Thanks for the fast and accurate reporting, Brandon. Regarding "wild rumors", I thought the same thing about some of the reports from Coventry flash-mobs in CH last year-- just people being over-sensitive to crowds of kids. Having been in the middle of this myself last night, I have to say it's actually a scary and dangerous situation. We had a fight break out between a dozen kids about 50 yards away, and then two waves of probably 200 kids charging out through the crowd of families on blankets. After the two charges, large groups of 20-30 kids each collected and wandered back towards the direction of the incident. These "kids" seemed to be largely young adults 16-18 years old. We stayed put and let the mob of people rush around us, but if I'd had kids with me I would have gotten them out of there. No, there were no shots fired, but having a couple hundred young adults charging through the crowd and then reassembling into groups, with fights breaking out among them, is not a safe or comfortable environment. There were plenty of other kids who did not participate in the chaos and who also deserved to enjoy the event. It's a shame that a small number of people had to come and start fights, and it's a shame that a larger number of people reacted by charging around like idiots. But it's not fear-mongering to say that these people created a real, dangerous environment. Too bad for SH, I hope they find a way to keep these thugs out in the future.
Gregg Schoof July 05, 2012 at 05:50 PM
The courts should not tolerate this type of behavior. I am glad those responsible were arrested. In the case of the juveniles the parents should be also be held accountable, face fines and do community service along with their children. I do not believe that the event should be cancelled. That's just enabling a few rowdy people to ruin a good thing for the majority. It's sad that some inner ring suburbs' activities are threatened by a bunch of unruly thugs. Unfortunately, the publicity about this type of occurence causes more people to flee to more distant suburbs. Community leaders need to convene to discuss possible ways to prevent this type of thing from happening again.
John Michael July 05, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Thanks for the reporting on this. I was wondering why it was not reported earlier. I would disagree with the shots being fired. I wonder if information is being withheld to calm the community. I was there and I heard shots and then saw the stampede. I have attended Shaker fireworks for years. This is my last one. I would never go back. Its very sad. Community gatherings are obvious not safe events in the heights.
Garry Kanter July 05, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Those things did not happen at the Coventry Street fair last year. There was a flash mob. There was a single incident of pushing involving one vendor's stand. Three or so hours after the fair ended, cops & kids got tired of loitering and staring at each other, someone did something stupid, and a dozen or so kids got arrested.
Garry Kanter July 05, 2012 at 07:03 PM
How many shots? How are you certain it wasn't firecrackers, or something else? Why did the police specifically say there was no evidence of any shots? Exaggerations don't help an already bad situation.
John Michael July 05, 2012 at 07:21 PM
Several people have sent me e mails. I'll respond here. The flash mob violence on two separate occasions in Cleve hts last year spilled out into the community. A number of people were assaulted and robbed around Coventry and several after gangs moved down Lee road. Last night in Shaker gangs were roaming the streets of Malvern, Montgomerry looking for trouble. Once again my wife and I were there at the fireworks and we did hear a gun shot. Why else would hundreds of people stampede. I know its scary to look at the truth of these groups/gangs of thugs but unless you stop the denial no real action can be taken for change. Also in talking with Cleveland and Shaker hts police its very common for young kids under 18 to carry firearms. Just talk to any police officer in the hts they will tell you the same thing.
Brandon Baker (Editor) July 05, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Thanks for everybody's input and comments. We've been trying to get more information from police via phone and in person. In their defense they were not operating at full power today, but we're still after more verifiable information. We appreciate your patience.
Abraham Lincoln July 05, 2012 at 09:55 PM
There were no shots fired. I was there too. Someone threw these small popping firecracker things. But there were absolutely no shots fired. It was just stupid people who thought it would be fun to start fights.
linda jenkins July 05, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Unfortuately my husband and myself was stuck in the middle of traffic during this Fireworks display it was a horrible experience and a very lenghty one as well.The behavior of some of the youth and adults was totally rude,the music,the language exchanges and even sitting in stall traffic hearing someone talking about a weapon and later observing a young man punching a girl .We were patient and scared ,it was so sad to see families sitting along the sidewalks trying to have a wonderful and traditional outing for most of us to be placed in the middle of madness that's what it felt like for me .Yes we observed the presence of neighboring Police even knowing they were there ,someone chosed to misbehave lastnight and that's what they did.I sincerely hope whatever happened is verified and clarified .Clearly something went wrong lastnight ,at one point the police stopped all traffic .
Lisa Clark July 05, 2012 at 10:35 PM
I do agree that as much as they did sound like shots at the time, I believe that they were only firecrackers. I saw young adults pulling up their shirts and showing their friends that they had firecrackers shoved in their pants. It was still a horrific experience for all of us. I had my 12 yr old daughter with me and my husband however my son who is 14 had gone off with some friends. This was his school and there shouldnt have been any reason why I shouldnt have been able to feel safe allowing my son to watch fireworks with his friends at his school. However as soon as the stampede of people came rushing towards us and someone saying there were guns, I have never feared so much for the safety of my children. It is so sad that this has to go on in this community. this is where my husband and I were both raised and we want our children to be raised but I never expected these types of experiences for them right at their own school. So sad
Garry Kanter July 06, 2012 at 12:57 AM
I find your "authoritative" narrative lacking in relationship to actual events.
heyimjay59@yahoo.com July 06, 2012 at 04:28 AM
Blame the white folks .
shaker tax payer July 06, 2012 at 02:58 PM
My family stopped going to the Shaker Fireworks three years ago. I am a Shaker resident and my tax dollars pay for these fireworks. The violence has increased each year.The arrest numbers have increased each year. From beating to stabbings to now suspected gunfire, the police can not keep the peace when the participants want to induce panic for entertainment. Stop wasting our tax dollars on an event that is not safe to attend. It is a shame that the behavior of others has left us with a community where it is not safe to watch fireworks with your family. I continue to feel unsafe in Shaker not just on the 4th of July. There are some serious problems in our community and I sure don't feel the police are to blame, they do an excellent job it is the people and the lack of supervision of our teens and home training of our youth. I blame the parents who just don't care what their kids do.
Jane July 06, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Okay Garry, I don't know what your problem is or where you were but Steve Smith is absolutely correct. These thugs come from Cleveland and East Cleveland to start trouble and ruin events for everyone. First of all, the cops were not loitering and staring at each other all day for the Coventry Street Fair. All day long, they removed kids looking to start trouble, and were quick to act when things got out of hand. Shame on you. You have no idea what any of them went through. My husband who is a CH police officercame home black and blue and bloodied from kids throwing things at him. And all this happened before it was over, not 3 hours after. They were still trying to clear the scene 5 hours later because there were so many kids and so many fights. Did you happen to drive down Mayfield Road? Kids were everywhere for hours from Coventry to Taylor Road. And the fighting was in the street and in some of the stores- just watch the videos! so get your facts straight before you open your mouth. Several CH officers were there last night and were even saying that the kids just go to start trouble, and they were on hand since last years was such a mess.
Garry Kanter July 06, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Jane, if that is your real name, I was there all afternoon at the 2011 Coventry Street Fair. Your account is fiction,
Daniel G July 06, 2012 at 07:38 PM
It does seem like a virtually uncontrollable situation if you allow anyone to attend. The problem extends beyond the middle school grounds, though. We live in the Mercer neighborhood, and we like to walk over to Mercer school, as you can see most of the fireworks show from there. This year, there were more cars than ever in the parking lot, and more people watching from the fields behind the school. How can the police monitor places like this and the Malvern lot when they are already straining to control the main site?
Colleen July 07, 2012 at 12:48 AM
Garry i was there also. I find Jane's account accurate. The fair was peaceful until the last hour when it became apparent that a bunch of kids and young adults were arriving looking for trouble. They swarmed the place, and there were multiple stampedes, many of the CH teens came and stood by adults to stay out of the way. The police were outnumbered.
Garry Kanter July 07, 2012 at 01:08 AM
Colleen, who doesn't follow the rules about complete, real names, your account of the 2011 Coventry Street Fair is much closer to what I described than to what the other non-rule-follower described. Except for the stampedes. Which didn't happen.
Harry Heights July 07, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Garry, denying what happened at Coventry last year won't help anything. Did you read the twitter posts from the kids who showed up at Coventry prior to the 1500-2500 teens and young adults arriving within 90 minutes? Did you read or hear any interviews with RTA drivers? Did you walk down the street? I saw people pushing, I saw several booths overturned, I saw chaos and an unprepared police force. The problems spilled into the surrounding neighborhood, there was vandalism on private and public property for blocks around. It sucked. And attacking what someone's name is, is not the same as responding to an argument or post. People are reporting facts that have been corroborated. A similar problem happened here in Shaker. Please address the issues, not people's screen names.
Garry Kanter July 07, 2012 at 02:52 AM
The day I believe twitter posts from anonymous teenagers over what I personally saw is not going to arrive. I will no longer reply to ToS-violating posters. Your account of the 2011 Coventry Street Fair is fiction.
Dwayne Jackson July 07, 2012 at 05:48 AM
More Black on Black Crime.This is an atrocity
Michelle Simakis July 09, 2012 at 02:50 AM
Everybody, thanks for reading and for your comments, and sharing your accounts of events in Shaker Heights and Cleveland Heights. We do require that everyone use their real name — so thank you for those who have here. It's part of our terms of use, which can be found here: www.shakerheights.patch.com/terms.
carlita skok July 10, 2012 at 12:08 PM
Garry, I attended the street fair, as a mother, best friend of a Coventry store owner, and wife of a Cleveland Hts policeman. I can assure you, with sadness because I do not want it to be true, that there was a stampede down Lee. I was with my three children, including an infant in a stroller, when it happened. My family then proceeded to my best friend's business, where we locked the doors. It carried on for hours. The police had to get a large bus to transport a lot of unruly kids. There was a stampede, people were hurt, including police officers. Please know the facts before you begin to attack people. I was on mayfield and Coventry. I had other friends that were in Peace Park. We all had similar experiences. I am curious to know where you were during the June street fair? If you left early, you missed it. I am giving my full name and following the rules, FYI.
Garry Kanter July 10, 2012 at 01:15 PM
I was at the 2011 Coventry Street Fair from about 2:00 until 6:30, a half hour after it ended. I was standing in front of Hunan Coventry from 6:00 - 6:30, waiting for a take out order. And what possible connection Lee Rd has to the Coventry Street Fair escapes me. I haven't attacked anyone. And I find your account, including "My family then proceeded to my best friend's business, where we locked the doors. It carried on for hours. The police had to get a large bus to transport a lot of unruly kids. There was a stampede, people were hurt, including police officers." to be unsupported, and never previously reported. It is fiction.
Garry Kanter July 10, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Yes. The actuals events and facts are disturbing enough. They needn't be exaggerated.
John Michael July 13, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Gary you obviously have a huge stake in not wanting the truth to come out about the riots at the fireworks. I find your comments very unfair and you are suppressing the truth. I would never return to the Shaker fireworks. We have started exploring a move to a safer community. Especially given the crime here in Shaker. The sun press this week reported all of the assaults that took place after the fireworks in Shaker. Just disgusting. Also the large number of robberies of people in broad daylight at Shaker Square. Time for a move indeed.
Garry Kanter July 13, 2012 at 06:15 PM
"Gary you obviously have a huge stake in not wanting the truth to come out about the riots at the fireworks. I find your comments very unfair and you are suppressing the truth." - John Michael Untrue, speculative, unworthy of further response.


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