Two 15-year-old boys who were walking on South Green Road were hit with paintballs in a drive-by incident at about 11:15 p.m. June 4.
The perpetrator was in a northbound Chevrolet Malibu on Green Road, according to Beachwood Police Chief Kelly Stillman, who is seeking information about the incident and is personally involved in the investigation.
The incident took place directly in front of Waxman Chabad Center of Cleveland in Beachwood and there was at least one paintball hit left in a retaining wall in front of the property.
The boys were walking in a group with four other students from Fuchs Mizrachi School and Green Road Synagogue from one Fuchs Mizrachi teacher’s house to another’s for oneg Shabbat celebrations, Rabbi Avery Joel, head of school at Fuchs Mizrachi, told the Cleveland Jewish News June 7.
Joel said the two were the only ones in the group to be hit and they received facial bruises.
When they got to the teacher’s house, they notified police.
Joel said the two were shaken by the incident and determining a motive might be difficult.
“Because nothing was said, it was very hard to tell,” he said.
Joel said he spoke briefly with the high school students June 7 about the incident and then emailed parents a letter regarding it.
“I wanted to reassure them that this was being looked into,” Joel told the CJN.
“As many of you know, there was an incident involving two of our Stark High School students this past Friday night,” Joel wrote to parents. “As they were walking in a group from one oneg to another, they were hit by paintballs fired from a passing car on Green Road. Thank G-d, neither was seriously injured, but this type of incident, which we are hearing about around the country, should concern our community.
“Beachwood Police also requested that we share the message that it is important to notify them as soon as possible anytime something like this happens. The sooner they have the information, the sooner they can respond.
“... Minimally, this should serve as a reminder that, sadly, we all need to be a little bit more cautious and a little more vigilant, given today’s climate. Thank G-d, our community is incredibly strong, and with all of us – local law enforcement and community members – we can help ensure the safety of our community.”
Stillman said he did not know what the charges might be, should an arrest or arrests be made, or whether the crime would be considered a hate crime.
“It could be a variety of things,” Stillman told the CJN June 9. “That’s really hard to narrow down. ... There was no verbal exchange.”
Stillman said a number of people in the department are working on the investigation.
“This type of activity is not tolerated in this city and I’ll do whatever it takes to make sure that it doesn’t happen,” he said.