Updated 2:20 p.m., July 11, 2019
The suspect in custody in connection with a quadruple homicide in Slavic Village earlier this week is the father of one of the victims, Cleveland police said.
Armond Johnson, Sr., 26, has not yet been formally charged in the killings but was arrested on aggravated murder charges Thursday morning following an arrest Tuesday in a separate aggravated robbery case.
Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said though the investigation is ongoing, Johnson is the only suspect in the deaths of David Cousin, Jr., 35; Takeyra Collins, 25; Armond Johnson, Jr., 6; and Aubree Stone, 2.
Williams, Cleveland police spokesman Lt. Ali Pillow and Mayor Frank Jackson offered condolences to the families of the victims and the neighborhood, but said they could not comment extensively on the continuing investigation.
“It is not lost upon us that we are charging the father of one of the victims in this crime,” Pillow said. “This investigation is going to continue. We have a long way to go.”
Johnson is expected to appear in court at 8:30 a.m. Friday, but additional charges may be added in the future, at the discretion of a grand jury, Pillow said.
On Tuesday, police responding to East 63rd Street at around 8 a.m. for a report of a man shot in a field. Officers found Cousin's body, who police believe was shot after “stumbling upon the suspect, a victim of simply being here.”
While officers were looking for witnesses, police smelled smoke and saw the bodies of the children through a window, police said. They also found a small fire, which firefighters extinguished.
Collins was also found dead inside the home. Cousin and Collins both died of multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner. The children died of smoke inhalation.
Police would not discuss a possible motive, though members of the community at the press conference peppered officials with questions, including why there were no protections in place for Collins and her children when it was well known she was a victim of domestic violence at the hands of Johnson. According to Cleveland.com, police records show Collins had reported being the victim of domestic violence in 2014 and 2018. A spokesperson for the Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services told the news site the department had referred Collins to domestic abuse services last month.
Also at the press conference were dozens of children from the local Boys and Girls Club, some holding posters and photos in remembrance of 6-year-old Armond Johnson, Jr., and the last question of the afternoon press conference came from a child.
“How did the man kill them?” the child asked.
“He did something that he should not have done,” Williams said. “We’re going to do everything possible to make sure that that doesn’t happen to any other kid in this neighborhood or in this city.”