CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Cleveland Cavaliers are “filled with pain” following the fatal shooting of Ericka Weems, the sister of Cavaliers director of scouting Brandon Weems.
“The entire Cavaliers organization was terribly saddened to learn about the recent tragic death of Brandon Weems’ sister Ericka,” general manager Koby Altman said in a statement released by the team on Wednesday night. “Our hearts are heavy and filled with pain over this senseless act. We express our deepest condolences to Brandon, the entire Weems family, their loved ones, and the Akron community. We will be with Brandon throughout this extremely difficult time and will offer our assistance and resources to help find justice for Ericka.”
Police found Ericka Weems, 37, dead from a gunshot wound to her head about 3 p.m. Monday in the bedroom of her home on Hardesty Avenue in Akron. Family members called police and asked officers to check on her because they hadn’t been able to reach her for a few days.
Akron police Lt. Michael Miller said no arrests have been made in the case. Miller said detectives have not yet established a motive.
“Talking with people not just in the family, but in the community, she was the last person someone would expect this to happen to,” Miller said. “She didn’t have an adversarial relationship with anyone in her life. It looks like another unfortunate and senseless murder.”
Weems, who previously owned a daycare center in Columbus, Ohio, ran a daycare service out of her West Akron residence.
“To my beautiful sister, we were just talking about celebrating your birthday and now I can’t believe you are gone!! Taken from me, the family, and your friends way too soon,” Brandon Weems wrote on Instagram. “You were truly our moms child. You had such a kind heart and a warm soul. So open to care for, help and love whoever crossed your path. You recently just found your ‘glow’ and it looked amazing on you!! I was so proud of you and happy that you finally found peace and happiness in your life. Why would anyone want to do this to you?? I’m so angry, sad and heartbroken. My life will never be the same without you!! But I’m happy you and mom are back together! Watch over us from up there and I promise we got you down here!! Love you forever and always!!”
Brandon Weems originally joined the organization as a scout in 2015, following two seasons as an assistant coach at Oakland University in Michigan. His role with the Cavs expanded in recent years, and he was named director of scouting in July 2017.
Early Wednesday afternoon, NBA star LeBron James — a lifelong friend and former high school teammate of Weems at St. Vincent-St. Mary — took to social media, making a plea to the public for any information connected to the shooting.
“AKRON OHIO!! My brother’s family need answers to why and by whom,” James tweeted. “My city I need y’all to go to work and find out who did this awful, shameful, disgusting thing to such a caring, loving angel!”
James and Weems grew up together in Akron, first becoming Pee Wee football teammates for 5- and 6-year-olds and then playing in the same rec basketball league a few years later. Weems and James once again teamed up in high school, leading nationally ranked St. Vincent-St. Mary to multiple state championships. James’ first career NBA playoff game was dedicated to Weems’ mother, Brenda Lewis-Weems, who was also James’ godmother. She died in 2006 after battling cancer. A few years ago, during an interview with mlive.com, James called Weems one of his closest friends.
“I make sure I look out for him,” James said. “He’s my little brother.”
Miller said he hopes James bringing attention to the case will lead to more people coming forward with tips to police.
“It has been my hope that the community feels the weight of the grief that this family and all of our victims feel,” Miller said. “If he puts a name behind a personal tragedy, I hope it has an effect. Hopefully it moves us closer to solving this.”
Along with Altman, Cavs power forward and Akron native Larry Nance Jr. called for justice on social media.
“Akron we need your help to find justice for Ericka and the Weems family,” Nance said.