Retired Cleveland firefighter remembered as hero one year after murder

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CLEVELAND (WJW)– Wednesday marks one year since a retired Cleveland firefighter was killed by a stray bullet while out for a walk with his wife.

While police still search for the shooter, family and friends gathered to remember the man’s life at the same exact spot where it was taken.


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“It’s been 365 days. That amount of time has gone by since I last saw my husband,” said Venita McCormick, the victim’s wife.

Venita, along with family and friends of 62-year-old Wilbert McCormick, gathered for a vigil at the entrance to Forest Hills Park on Cleveland’s east side Wednesday night. That is where he was shot and killed back on July 21, 2020.

Venita was held by those in attendance, including Cleveland firefighters and members of Cleveland City Council.

(FOX 8 photo)

“My husband was a hero. He was a fireman. He was a veteran. But he was a family man. He was a father. A grandfather,” Venita said.


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Wilbert, a retired Cleveland firefighter, was shot in the head as he went for his daily walk with Venita near Thornhill Drive and Arlington Avenue in the city’s Glenville neighborhood.

“He saved lives and he lost his life right here in our neighborhood. He didn’t deserve that,” Venita said.

(FOX 8 photo)

Police said McCormick was an innocent victim and they still need witnesses to come forward.


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Meanwhile, Venita is still dealing with her son’s hit-and-run death that happened almost five years ago.

“He was my baby, he was 24. His homicide has been unsolved. And my husband’s homicide has been unsolved. I need closure. I need someone that knows something to say something and come forward,” Venita said.

Anyone with any information on the murder is asked to call Cleveland police. Crime Stoppers is offering up to a $2,500 reward for information that leads to the arrest and indictment of the person responsible.

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