Sunday, December 7, 1997
Hollister St. residents shocked

BY KATHLEEN HILLENMEYER
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Through her bedroom wall, Angela Whitterson heard three shots and a woman's scream, briefly muted the volume on her television, but shook off the suspicion that anything deadly was happening late Friday outside her apartment.

Sometime between 11:30 p.m. and midnight, ''I heard bang, bang, bang,'' recalled Ms. Whitterson, whose home is across an alley from the Hollister Street apartment where two police officers were fatally shot. ''I just couldn't believe they were gunshots. I thought somebody was lighting firecrackers.''

But after sleeping an hour then rising to check her son, the University of Cincinnati junior saw the horror unfolding at Alonzo Davenport's door: officers Daniel J. Pope and Ronald D. Jeter carried out on stretchers.

''I was so shocked I couldn't believe it,'' said Ms. Whitterson, 27, of 21 W. Hollister St. ''I really feel bad for the cops.''

A sleepless night followed for many of the college students and families whose apartments line this hillside street.

''It's never been bad before,'' said Tabatha Sturgill, 22, whose second-floor apartment overlooks Mr. Davenport's. ''You hear the parties at night, but never anything to get upset about.''

Other than car stereo robberies and late-night walks from distant parking spots, residents here said they had little to fear before Friday night's shootings.

''I felt a lot safer than I do now,'' said Sherry Helton, 25, a mother of two who shares an apartment with Ms. Sturgill.

''When two cops can't go somewhere without getting hurt, there's definitely something wrong with the neighborhood,'' said Ms. Helton, who moved in two months ago with her 5- and 2-year-old sons.

For landlord Orville Clark, the joy of his grandchild's birth Friday was overshadowed by the news that his tenant, Mr. Davenport, apparently had killed two officers before shooting himself in a nearby park.

''These things are so senseless,'' said Mr. Clark of Amberley Village, who rented Mr. Davenport the apartment in a 100-year-old two-family for less than a year. ''It's just sad. Christmas time - it seems like that's when these things happen.''

A mix of owner-occupants and renters occupy the street where apartments - some subsidized, others gentrified through restoration - lease from $300-$600 a month.

''It's a good street here,'' Mr. Clark said. ''This is one of the most rentable places in Clifton.''

Sleeping through the gunshots next door, Ami Dehm awakened around 12:50 a.m. to the shouts of officers who surrounded Mr. Davenport's building.

''I didn't know what to do last night. I was hysterical. The officers were running around with guns,'' recalled Ms. Dehm, 20, a University of Cincinnati junior who spent Friday night alone, without the company of her two roommates.

Despite the shootings, Ms. Dehm does not feel pressed to vacate her apartment. Nor do her parents, John and Pat Dehm, fear for her safety.

''You can't judge a neighborhood by the incident or an individual,'' said her father, who lives in Liberty Township. ''If I didn't feel it was a safe place to be, Ami wouldn't be renting here.''

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