In the aftermath of the most recent shooting at Beachwood Place in Beachwood Nov. 21, mall owners have implemented additional security measures in an attempt to help detect firearms patrons may be bringing inside.
Brookfield Properties announced Nov. 25, the mall will launch a Vapor Wake Public Safety Canine Detection Program, which uses security officers and canines inside the mall.
Beginning this week, specially trained canines alongside security officers will patrol the shopping center to detect firearms, according to a news release from.
“For over four decades, Beachwood Place has been a market staple for shopping, dining and spending time with family and friends,” said Heidi Yanok, general manager of Beachwood Place, in the release. “We welcome millions of guests a year and provide for thousands of retail associate jobs within the shopping center. We strive to maintain a safe, peaceful and inclusive environment and require our guests to follow our posted code of conduct. Firearms are prohibited within Beachwood Place. The launch of the VWK9 program allows trained security professionals to identify anyone not in compliance.”
Beachwood Police Chief Kelly Stillman, said in the release, “The safety of all visitors and employees of Beachwood Place is important to the Beachwood Police Department. We support this innovative detection approach and will continue supporting Beachwood Place’s safety needs to ensure a safe, family-friendly shopping environment.”
Paul Hammond, president of VWK9, said in the release, “It has always been VWK9’s mission to utilize our innovative techniques and patented training protocols to provide canine detection capabilities that address the increasing threats across our nation. The addition of firearms detection capability to our Vapor Wake® canines allows us to serve the public and assist in making our nation a safer place. It is an honor to support our local community and to provide our canines in support of Beachwood Place ownership, management, tenants and patrons.”
Beachwood Place has a comprehensive security program that is both visible and behind the scenes and the program is constantly evaluated and routinely updated, according to the release. The VWK9 program is an additional safety measure and something the entire community can appreciate, the release said.
Meanwhile, Beachwood City Council will meet in executive session at 6 p.m. Nov. 30 to discuss security issues at the mall.
Letraize D. Walker, a 2020 Beachwood High School graduate was charged with one count of felonious assault in connection with the shooting outside Beachwood Place that left one man hospitalized. Walker played on the football team for three years after transferring from Benedictine High School in Cleveland
At about 2 p.m. Nov. 21 in the parking lot near Dillard’s and Nordstrom, Walker was involved in a verbal altercation with another man when he pulled a loaded handgun from his pocket and fired two shots at the man, according to Shaker Heights Municipal Court records. The bullets struck the man in the right pelvis and right forearm, causing serious physical harm, the court records showed.
The shooting was the sixth at the mall since March 2017. Three of the incidents occurred inside the mall.
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