A makeshift memorial is seen outside John Adams College and Career Academy, 3817 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Wednesday, January 11, 2023. A student, Pierre McCoy, was fatally shot outside the school on Tuesday, January 10, 2023.
A makeshift memorial is seen outside John Adams College and Career Academy, 3817 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Wednesday, January 11, 2023. A student, Pierre McCoy, was fatally shot outside the school on Tuesday, January 10, 2023. Credit: Stephanie Casanova / Signal Cleveland

The Union-Miles community is mourning teenager Pierre McCoy’s death which happened in broad daylight as students left the John Adams College and Career Academy Tuesday. 

McCoy, 18, was fatally shot while at the bus stop outside the school around 3 p.m. John Adams was closed Wednesday, and grief counselors were made available at the school to talk to students and faculty members, Cleveland Metropolitan School District announced Wednesday morning. 

Two makeshift memorials are seen outside John Adams College and Career Academy, on Wednesday, January 11, 2023, the day after a student was killed at the bus stop after school. Credit: Stephanie Casanova / Signal Cleveland

Speaking at a panel in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Justin Bibb said he’d received a phone call Tuesday notifying him of the shooting.

“We need a national campaign and a national moment in this country to address gun violence,” he said.

Council Member Kevin L. Bishop, whose ward 2 includes the school, said community members and parents need to reach out to youth because they are all experiencing trauma after witnessing and hearing about gun violence. 

“This is happening all too often,” Bishop said. “We just have to come to some way where we can reach out to our young folks to let them know that gun violence is not the answer to their problems.”

He said police, the school district and the city can work together to make sure students have a safe passage home when school is dismissed. 

While the community has dealt with some crime, neighbors are not accustomed to frequent gun violence involving young people, Bishop said. Last month, a teenager was fatally shot outside the Earle B. Turner Recreation Center about a mile north of the high school, he said. 

He said community members need help and need to talk to professionals and each other in order to move past these shootings and to feel safe in their community. 

Carol Malone, a resident of Union-Miles and the creator of a podcast focused on spotlighting residents making change in their neighborhoods, said some of her neighbors have lived in their homes for decades and some are multi-generational homes. She sometimes watches kids on her street play and ride their bikes, she said. 

“They’re like everyone else in every community,” Malone said of her community. “You just want to be able to make a decent living for yourself, take care of your family, have a healthy environment where you feel free and safe to walk about your community. And be happy.”

Marvetta Rutherford, a Union-Miles resident and a Cleveland Documenter, showed Signal Cleveland around the neighborhood Wednesday. 

Samone Robinson, owner of Samone’s Kitchen down the street from the high school, said she was afraid after hearing about the shooting and seeing police presence in the neighborhood Tuesday afternoon. 

Samone and LC Robinson, her husband and co-owner of the restaurant, said the community has embraced them and everyone in her restaurant has been kind and respectful. The young men who patronize the restaurant sometimes call Samone Robinson “auntie,” she said. “It makes me feel accepted.”

Samone and LC Robinson, co-owners of Samone’s Kitchen, 3705 E 116th St., talk about a fatal shooting that happened Tuesday near their take-out restaurant on Wednesday, January 11, 2022. Credit: Stephanie Casanova / Signal Cleveland

They opened the take-out restaurant July 28. Robinson said she wants people driving by to see a positive message on the wall of her business that faces the main street. 

“I’m trying to figure out what more I can do as far as positivity in the neighborhood,” Robinson said. “I have a blank canvas over here on the side that I’m gonna have some artwork put up, but I’m trying to get the right words put up there.” 

Criminal Justice Reporter (she/her)
Stephanie, who covered criminal justice and breaking news at the Chicago Tribune, is a bilingual journalist with a passion for storytelling that is inclusive and reflects the diversity of the communities she covers. She has been a reporter and copy editor for local newspapers in South Dakota, Kansas and Arizona. Stephanie is also a Maynard 200 alumni, a Maynard Institute for Journalism Education training program for journalists of color that focuses on making newsrooms more equitable, diverse and anti-racist.