Monday, June 16, 2008

HONORING QIANA


Elyria – Family and friends of Qiana Walton gathered together Sunday night in the parking lot of GAS USA to pay respects to their friend and to show support to the her family.

People began arriving around 9:30 and by ten the crowd grew to over 100. Friends and people who never met Qiana placed flowers, teddy bears and other items in a make shift memorial by the station’s front doors. People were also lined up to sign a large card that had been taped to the front window.

As the crowd waited for the family to arrive from Lorain they talked to one another – some talking to total strangers expressing their anger, their hurt and their confusion on how this crime could have happened and why such a sweet girl could have been taken from them.

About a half hour into it the conversations stopped – the area was silent as several calls pulled into the parking lot with Qiana’s family. As family members began the walk to the building to see the memorial, the crowd parted – making a clear aisle for the grieving family. Qiana’s father & mother had to have assistance in getting through the crowd – struggling to make the walk they said it was something they knew they had to do.

A young family member expressed the gratitude of Qiana’s mother and father and the entire family. He said that their love and support has helped the family get through this weekend.

Along with Mom and Dad, several family members entered the station – dad was escorted to the office area where his daughter was found early Saturday morning.

The family then returned to their cars and headed for home. Monday they begin making arrangements for Qiana’s funeral.

Matt Swabb, Coordinator of the South Elyria Block Watch, said that as tragic as this is, the Southside of Elyria is showing improvement from what it once was and believes it will again be a great neighborhood. “This was an absolutely horrible thing that happened but I am proud of the neighborhood and how they have rallied around her friends and co-workers. This shows that there are very good people living and raising families on the Southside of town.”


Swabb said that the owners of GAS USA have said in the past that they would hire security for the store, if they were only allowed to obtain a liquor license. “I am firmly against them selling liquor here and they know that but they did come to our recent Block Watch meeting, so they are showing that they want to be a part of the neighborhood. I just wish they had gotten that security anyway. I am concerned that they don’t have better security measures in place, the idea of having one person closing the store on a Friday night at midnight all alone is just wrong and I hope they change that policy.”

Swabb said he and his group from the neighborhood will continue to work with the owners of GAS USA and try to get them to improve their security policies.

Eric Jones grew up in the neighborhood and now lives a little further north. He says that the neighborhood had gone down hill over the years and became a very dangerous place to live.

Rosetta Lankey, a very close friend and fellow employee at GAS USA said that Qiana had an infectious smile and that it was almost impossible to make her mad. “You could try to make her mad, but she would just smile or laugh at you and just move on. She was so full of life and was just the best friend you could ever have, I will miss her so much. This is a painful time for so many people because she touched so many lives.”


The photo page link has been corrected
To see more photos from the scene: CLICK HERE

9 Comments:

Blogger Buster's Momma said...

"Swabb said that the owners of GAS USA have said in the past that they would hire security for the store, if they were only allowed to obtain a liquor license."

Do I understand this correctly? Increasing security was contingent upon the owner getting a liquor license for the place?

That's messed up.

When a business places more value on selling alcohol than on protecting their business, employees and customers, they no longer need my patronage.

Elyria, listen to your citizens for once.
Close the place forever.
Enough is enough.

5:43 AM  
Anonymous karl said...

Re: Swabb's comment.
Yes, basically it sounds like blackmail to me. Let us sell booze and create more problems in the area and we will hire security. Forget it, we aren't interested in being blackmailed. If you can't run an honest business and be responsible for it, then sell the business and get out of town. We don't care for business owners trying to extort a liquor license in exchange for running a business properly.

9:58 AM  
Blogger Matt Swabb said...

The previous owners said they would hire off duty police if they sold liquor and just at the last block watch 2 employees from Gas USA said the same about this current owner.

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The block watch DOES NOT work with anyone, especially the owners of Gas USA. They want, want, want and the block watch doesnt budge. They have their own little political agenda and thats to shut everything down on this side of town. If SEND and the block watch dont want it, they will fight to keep it out.

This story is so sad and I grieve for the families loss. But security would not have prevented this guy from doing what he did. He had an agenda, get money and kill. That simple.
Some need to come down off their high horses on this and realize all the block watch walks and meetings will not dtere those criminals.

4:04 PM  
Blogger Matt Swabb said...

1st off there has only been one business that we’ve targeted. They had their day in front of the liquor control board and the board’s decision was to deny their license request. That owner had numerous violations in his other stores throughout Cleveland.

In 4 years no one from Gas USA has been willing to work with the block watch. They come to a meeting and say how they are going to fix the place up, keep the kids from loitering and how they plan to hire off duty police as security. NONE of them have ever stuck to their word.

So I'm sorry that I want better for the neighborhood. I will not back down, I will not budge.

An off duty cop or an armed guard could have deterred this. From the $ amount that has been rumored to have been stolen (and the # is big) there should have been security.

9:02 PM  
Anonymous karl said...

So, if the amount of $$ stolen was "big", what happened to it? Was the money recovered, spent on a good night of ho's and snort, or is someone keeping it "safe" for him? Also, from another story, if he was visiting from Chicago, where did he get the gun from or is he always packing? Just a couple of interesting questions.

On another topic, I think it is ridiculous to accuse SEND of being anti-business. They are trying to improve the neighborhood, not drive out honest businesses. So they target a place that has been a major headache and troublespot, what's wrong with that? Action should have been taken years ago to prevent that business from becoming the troublespot it currently is. Why not support their efforts to clean up the area instead of belittling them?

10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe that GAS USA should remain open, with hired security NOW, at all times of the day. People can be shot at 12noon or 12am. I would hesitate in granting a liquor license at the present time. Have the owner from GAS USA work with the neighborhood and SEND in improving the store. Re-evaluate next year when the emotions/tensions are not quite so high. I applaud Matt and his group for working on trying to improve the neighborhood. Kudos!

6:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was such a sad thing. I just hope Judge Burge doesn't let this guy get away this, with his liberal judgements. That guy had no regard for her. HOpe he gets what he deserves.

12:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ITS ABOUT TIME YOU ALL CAUGHT THAT BASTER!! SEE CHARLIE WE COULD NOT GET HIM BUT GOD DO!!!! PLEASE DO NOT LET THAT BASTER OUT HE DESEVER WHATS COMIN TO HIM THANK GOD, YELLOW,CHILD LOVE YOU CHARLIE!!!!

1:17 AM  

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