Vigil for Cleveland Clinic worker demanding suspects be caught

CLEVELAND - Family members helped guide the wife of Stephen Halton Jr. as she wept, making her way into the crowd of people gathered together Thursday. That crowd was a vigil held near Lake Shore Blvd. and East 153rd St.  to remember Halton’s life, taken early Saturday when an attempted robbery went south.

Halton’s family members showed their grief, still his father had strong words for the person or people responsible.

“It's time for you to step out of fear and make up in your mind that I will not fear no more. I'm going to tell on you and I'm going to point you out in the lineup. I'm going to get you straight because your neighbor could be next.  Somebody else could be next.  Don't sit there like you don't know what's going on, when you know exactly what's going on!” he told the crowd.

His sister, finding comfort in her brother’s faith, still expressed her shock Thursday saying, “Every now and then we don't realize when we turn on the TV how this could be you.”

But Thursday, the family was not alone in their mourning. An entire community came out to show their support, outraged that a father, a husband and a man of faith was murdered just trying to head to work.

“We cannot let the individuals that did this define our community and our city,” said Ward 11 Councilman Mike Polensek.

Halton’s murder has stirred this east side community reaching even the youngest of members, like 11-year-old Joy Mason. 

Mason attended the vigil with her mother, who told NewsChannel5 her daughter was so upset, she insisted on going to the vigil Thursday night despite the snow and cold temperatures.

“I feel kind of sad because that was a man who had a family and a wife who could care for him and he just came out here and he got shot,” said the 11-year-old. Recognizing the fear and sorrow in her daughter, Carol Mason said, “She's not the only one feeling this way. We didn't have to know this man. We're all brothers and sisters of Christ, plain and simple.”

Black on Black Crime is one of the organizations responsible for putting together the Thursday night vigil. They are also spreading word of a fund to help Halton’s family called the “Stephen Douglas Halton Jr. Benefit Fund,”  which can be donated to any Charter One Bank.

The Cleveland Clinic also set up a fund aimed at furthering the education of Halton’s children. That fund, called the “Halton Children’s Education Fund,” can be donated to at any Key Bank. 

A Cleveland Clinic Spokesperson wrote, “Stephen was a man who recognized education as a means to advance his career and future. To honor that legacy a fund has been established.”

Meanwhile, the investigation continues and Halton’s murderer remains on the loose. Cleveland police did confirm they retrieved a handgun while in pursuit of a robbery suspect in the area. 

That weapon is being examined to determine whether or not it was the same weapon used in Halton’s murder but police have yet to announce any leads.

Anyone with information is asked call Cleveland police at: (216) 623-5505.

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