Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017
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Police & Fire

Bullets fly near Whittier Elementary School

A quiet afternoon in a West Toledo neighborhood was shattered by gunfire Wednesday, as shooters driving in two separate cars sped down city streets spraying bullets at each other.

A house and a parked car were hit by bullets and an elementary school was locked down to protect students.

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Toledo police investigate after shots were fired in the 4000 block of Bennett Road on Wednesday.

The Blade/Jeremy Wadsworth
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“I am very concerned,” Lisa Pilat, 49, a neighbor, said. “I have grand babies that come here all the time... The bullets could’ve gone right into my living room, because [the shooting] was right in front of the house.” 

At least two people from different vehicles were shooting at each other, beginning at roughly 2:19 p.m. near Bennett Road and West Sylvania Avenue, Sgt. Kevan Toney, a Toledo Police Department spokesman, said.

Whittier Elementary School, about a half-mile away, was placed on lockdown for about 40 minutes Wednesday after shots were fired nearby. The elementary school, located at 4221 Walker Ave., went on lockdown as a precautionary measure at roughly 2:21 p.m., police said 

The school lockdown was lifted just before 3 p.m.

The vehicles continued traveling around the area, with reports of people shooting at each other from their vehicles near West Laskey Road and Lewis Avenue, according to police radio traffic. 

Sergeant Toney said the shooting appears to have taken place on the east side of Bennett, where people in a black Dodge Journey were shooting at a white Chevy Impala. The two vehicles then drove west on Dryden and Lewis where a parked Mazda CX-5 was damaged with bullets. The two vehicles then continued north on Lewis, where a bullet went through a house window in the 4400 block.

Spent shell casings were located on Bennett, Dryden, Lewis, according to police.

After learning about the shooting on social media, Tania Snyder, 36, who lives in the 4100 block of Bennett Road, said she left work and rushed to pickup her daughter from school and check on her grandmother, who also lives nearby. 

"Everyone around here is concerned about their safety. It's nuts,” Ms. Snyder said. “ I just don't understand why it's happening here more than it used to. This is where I grew up, this is my home. I grew up in this neighborhood and it was a good neighborhood. I could walk around the streets and not fear for anything.

"Police have been patrolling [the neighborhood] more lately, so I don't know what else they can do to help."

Sergeant Toney said bullets struck at least one vehicle and a house, but there were no reports of anyone injured. 

Police continue to investigate the incident. 

“This particular case affects me personally,” Toledo Mayor-elect Wade Kapszukiewicz told The Blade. “That’s because I grew up on Capistrano Avenue and my parents still live in the house I grew up in. That’s my neighborhood. That’s the neighborhood where I played growing up.

“This has been a terrible year for the city of Toledo with regard to gun violence and we have to do everything in our power to make sure that the next year is better.”

The city has recorded 158 gunshot victims so far this year, according to a Blade review of police records. That count does not include suicides or accidental discharges.

The number was nearly identical —  160 —  at this point in 2016, those records show.

Blade staff writers Allison Reamer and Ryan Dunn contributed to this report.

Contact Mike Sigov at sigov@theblade.com419-724-6089, or on Twitter @mikesigovblade.

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