After the fatal shooting of Jayland Walker at the hands of Akron, Ohio police, the city has decided to cancel its annual Fourth of July celebration. On Monday, a hail of nearly 90 bullets fell upon Walker, a Black Doordash driver, after what started out as a traffic stop, and ultimately, resulted in the end of his young life. One of the family’s attorneys, Bobby DiCello describes the day as “an unbelievable scene,” that sounded like “a whole brick of fireworks going off.”
According to The Washington Post, Akron officers made an attempt to pull Walker over early Monday for a traffic violation. Authorities report that in his refusal to stop, Walker pulled out a gun and fired it from inside the vehicle—a statement that Walker’s family has refuted. At one point, the 25-year-old driver jumped from the car, and began running on foot, the authorities report. DiCello says that he is unsure what would have made flee, as he had no criminal record.
“Actions by the suspect caused the officers to perceive he posed a deadly threat to them,” Akron police said in a news release. “In response to this threat, officers discharged their firearms, striking the suspect.”
Walker was pronounced dead in the parking lot in which he was shot, with 60 shots piercing his body.
“There are wounds on all sides and parts of his body,” DiCello said.
All eight officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave until the state concludes its investigation. While there was a firearm recovered from the inside of Walker’s car, there was no evidence that the gun had been fired.
In response to the murder, the city has braced itself for the impact of civil disruption. Protests have already begun throughout the city of Akron, and in cities nationwide. This is the third fatal shooting by police in the Northeast, Ohio area since late December.
CNN reported on Friday that the body camera footage will be released to the public following the investigation.
In the meantime, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan and police chief released a joint statement saying: “We know that no police officer ever wants to discharge their service weapon in the line of duty. And anytime they must, it’s a dark day for our city, for the families of those involved, as well as for the officers.”
While the Fourth of July “Rib, White & Blue” festival was scheduled to begin on Friday and run through Monday in downtown Akron, there will be no celebration this year.
“I completely understand that some residents and guests will be disappointed by the decision to cancel the festival this holiday weekend,” Horrigan said on Thursday in a news release. “Independence Day is meant to be a celebration and a time of gathering with friends and family. Unfortunately, I feel strongly that this is not the time for a city-led celebration.”