Two teens shot after tree lighting Saturday; suspect arrested at downtown Cleveland plaza

CLEVELAND, Ohio (AP) — Two teenagers were wounded in a shooting in a downtown Cleveland plaza about an hour after an annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony that drew hundreds of spectators, authorities said.

Police said a suspect was quickly arrested after the gunfire at about 8:45 p.m. Saturday in Public Square that critically wounded a 15-year-old boy and also injured a 13-year-old boy. The teens weren’t identified, and no information was immediately released about the suspect.

Police said officers patrolling the area were told that a large group of juveniles had been fighting near the Soldiers and Sailors Civil War monument in the southeast quadrant of the square, and the two wounded teenagers were found in the area and taken to a hospital.

Television news footage showed people in the square running for safety after the gunshots.

Michael Deemer, president and CEO of Downtown Cleveland Inc., called the WinterLight ceremony “a great celebration of the season” that was “marred later by senseless violence.” He praised quick action by police but said there are “too many guns in our community and too little respect for life or authority.”

The president of the Cleveland City Council, Blaine Griffin, said the event was “attended by hundreds of families and individuals who came for the lights, the fireworks and the activities in and around the square.” Griffin said he was “deeply saddened” by the events that “impacted what otherwise was a beautiful evening.”