Hardcore Crews Battle In Lakewood - 23 Arrested

As we arrived at the scene of the crime at 6:40pm.

At around 6:30pm on Saturday April 19, Lakewood’s quiet streets were rattled with the sound of fighting and gun shots. A call went out to police and city services, “Gun shots and victims at Coutant and Detroit.” Instantly Lakewood Police and Fire swarmed the area, but it was too late, the deed done, and the perps scattered. Still Lakewood Police with the help of Cleveland and other communities locked down the blocks between Hird/Countant and Detroit, and West 114th and Detroit. They retained everyone that fit the description of the shooters, which was oddly damn near everyone on the streets.

“It was crazy,” said Alexandria Wagner, a young woman standing with a friend at the bus stop across the street from the scene of the crime. “Fifty crazy white guys with machetes and guns came running around the corner from behind the Limo place. They were slashing and beating everything they came on.” Actually two rival “hardcore crews” from outside of Cuyhaga County were battling it out on the streets in a battle of music, styles, principles, and revenge. “They just started beating this one guy until he was a bloody mess, then they all took off running East down Detroit.

At the Foundry located at 11729 Detroit Ave, Lakewood, OH 44107 was scheduled a Hardcore Show billed as “Fire Fest” it brought together some key acts from around to both the Foundry and Now That’s Class down the street in Cleveland. Little did the organizers know at that moment the fates were sealed, as rival bands from Boston and Youngstown were engaging some of the most dangerous factions of Hardcore. Bands and their fans are known as “Crews” and the rival crews were Friends Stand United (FSU) originally known as “Fuck Shit Up.” FSU was formed in the mid 80s by Elgin James, to battle, attack, beat and purge drug dealers and violent White supremacists, Neo-nazis and other various racist gangs from Hardcore rock concerts. Since then they have splintered many times becoming everything from a source for musical sponsorships to the motorcycle gang the Outlaws. There are many Chapters of FSU across the country, and they have been added to the FBI list of domestic terrorists. They were also featured in two TV shows on Gangs, one on National Geographic, and one “Gangland” on Arts and Entertainment.

The other faction, “Swing On Sight Family” is a little less known, but just as fearsome. They are out of Youngstown, and while not a famous as FSU, they have made a real name for themselves in Southern Ohio descending on clubs and beating up everyone. They are seen as rivals in the same sense the Blood and the Crips were rivals in Rap music, or the Outlaws and the Hells Angels in motorcycle gangs.

When I walked into “Now That’s Class” and spoke with people inside they were not really sure what happened except, “The three bands that were supposed to play were canceled when they heard about the trouble.” Whoever booked it made a huge mistake as so many have before, booking rival bands and fans and crews into the same venue. Even with the bands split between venues it did not stop them from hitting the streets and eventually mobbing the fans and crews standing outside of the Foundry.

Toyia Malaieb, who had been shopping at Value World, got stopped at the light at Countant and Detroit Ave. “The light turned green, and I could not continue as the crowd had moved into the street. It was like between 50 and 100 scary white guys with guns and machetes. We tried  to drive through but they scattered, and you could not drive through. It was crazy, three guys just beating the shit out of this poor bald guy. Then they pulled another guy out of a car and started to beat the shit out of him. Then a M#$% F#%@$#$@ got out of a car and started shooting into the crowd, then fired 3 shots in the air and everyone took off. They all disappeared running East, it was terrible they beat the shit out of that poor guy.” She had mentioned again “they beat the shit out of that poor man. This is crazy this kind of stuff does not happen in Lakewood, Lakewood is a great place to live!”

Indeed this does not happen in Lakewood, but a perfect storm had happened and it hit its peak at the corner of Coutant and Detroit, in the parking lot next to The Foundry. The police spent over 6 hours there processing eye witnesses and evidence, ranging from spent bullet casings to aluminum baseball bats flattened and sharpened to hammers left behind. They also arrested 18 people on various charges who will be arraigned in court Monday morning. While the stories continued to circulate, and more and more information comes in from the field, one person that is deep into the hardcore metal scene told me, “Violence has gotten out of hand, these guys enter clubs and will beat up everyone in them, but this is the craziest thing I have heard."

A witness at "My Friend's" talked about watching two groups of white guys dressed in black gather in the parking lot of Brother's Lounge. One group came walking down Detroit Ave. from the east, from Now That's Class, where they hooked up with another group walking down from the south. There is a report of "guys in black in the parking lot of Aldi's early in the afternoon planning something not right." Once they stopped talking they took off running down the alley behind Walgreens Pharmacy to surprise the rivals at The Foundry. Another person in the area mentioned, "It was nuts, it was like the Sharks and the Jets in 'Westside Story!'"

Ironically, both bars stayed open through the entire "purge," and closed at normal times. The bands at The Foundry finished and packed up. No one at either club would had known, except for people running in saying guess what just happened outside. Lakewood, a quiet city that is a great place to live and raise a family just got a touch of the life and death rivalries that have emerged from the hardcore rock scene. Neither group from Lakewood or Cleveland, but together they decided that Saturday night in Lakewood, they would act out their next violent act, and hence we were a home to what the FBI consider a domestic terror attack. Who would have ever thought?

Easter morning came up warm and bright, and the scene of the battle had been cleaned, and removed. People walked by the spot with dogs and kids without even stopping, unaware of what had happened just 14 hours earlier. 5 in the hospital at least 23 arrested most from out of the county.

Good work, Lakewood Police and Fire.

Jim O'Bryan

Publisher, Lakewood Observer, Inc.

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Volume 10, Issue 9, Posted 8:53 AM, 04.21.2014