YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A deadly Youngstown bar shooting back in May left families grieving. The shooting left two dead and three wounded. Today, we caught up with the father of one of the victims, who would have celebrated his 24th birthday on Monday.
The shooting happened outside of the Torch Club Bar & Grill on Sunday, May 23, 2021.
Raymond Spires, the father of victim Rayshaun Clay, talked about how the family is coping months later. He also has a message for the community.
“I’m not going to lie to you, it’s been hard,” he said.
Spires lives just down the street from the Torch Club on Salt Springs Road and can see from his back porch the place where his son died. It’s something he says is a daily, painful reminder of what he lost.
“Every day I walk down to the store I gotta be reminded how my son was butchered down there,” he said.
Clay’s death has tested his faith.
“It will lead you down some roads you don’t want to go. It tries to turn me back to the old me,” Spires said.
Youngstown has faced an epidemic of gun violence this year. In 2021, Youngstown has had 114 shootings with 25 homicide victims. Many of those shootings are retaliation for a previous crime.
“The streets know who hurt my son… I try to stay spiritually grounded because it’s so easy to put a gun in my hand and try to take street justice but I won’t go that way,” Spires said.
Street vengeance is a vicious cycle Spires would like to see end.
“I used to be in the street and every road that they are walking down I have already been down it,” Spires said.
Choosing instead to concentrate on the fond memories he had with his son.
“Some nights I just turn his music on and we played chess, all of those feelings come out. Then if I want to cry a little bit do that. It’s pain that I wouldn’t wish on anybody,” Spires said.