Household, associates keep in mind slain Cleveland teen on anniversary of his dying


CLEVELAND – A Cleveland mother tries to put the pieces of her life back together as she remembers the 15 good years she shared with her son a year after he was murdered.

“When I had someone blowing up the balloons, I just sat there and thought, ‘I can’t believe I’m here to do this,” Sharena Zayed said.

On the anniversary of Amir Bradley’s death on Tuesday, family and friends came together to honor his life and called for an end to gun violence in the city, especially among teenagers.

“He was murdered here. He left a friend’s house and waited for me to pick him up, ”said Zayed. “Someone in the neighborhood is starting to shoot a boy who was near Amir.”

Bradley was shot several times in the chest and torso in broad daylight on Woodland Avenue.

“One of the symptoms of grief is disbelief, and even a year later, I’m still in disbelief,” said Zayed. “Sometimes I can’t even wrap my head around it, sometimes like it happened to me and it happened to him.”

Zayed said her son was an innocent bystander and a victim of a much larger, systemic problem: gun violence on the streets of Cleveland.

“We have to learn how to control our emotions and our anger,” said Zayed.

Mary Williams from ‘Stop The Pain’ knows emptiness and sadness all too well.

“I’m a mother who lost my son to gun violence in 2017,” said Williams. “He was 26 years old.”

The organization that helped Williams spearhead provides resources for community anger and addiction in hopes of combating senseless violence, especially when teenagers are caught in the crossfire.

“We conduct conflict mediation and will work with people who have anger, resentment, hostility and forgiveness, judgment and criticism,” said Williams.

Community leaders said the COVID-19 pandemic claimed more lives than just those who died from the virus.

“If you closed playgrounds, you closed schools, you closed rec. Centers closed and libraries closed, which is what you want these kids to do, ”said Bradley’s friend.

Zayed said she will make it her life’s work to make sure other mothers don’t have the same heartbreak.

“We have to learn how to take care of each other’s children,” said Zayed. “We have to learn to take care of each other. We are all a community. We are in it together. “

Aaren Washington, 24, was arrested in June 2020 in connection with Bradley’s death in March.

Tinisha Thomas, 44, was arrested after authorities suspected she was the escape driver during the incident.

The Washington and Thomas case continues. The couple was due to go to trial on March 25th, but the trial was postponed until April 7th.