Wednesday, May 24, 2000

Police want help finding I-75 shooter

Reward offered for information

By Sara J. Bennett
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Lockland police are appealing to the public for help solving a mystery: Who shot and killed Anthony Elliot as he drove in lunch-hour traffic on Interstate 75 nearly two months ago?

People with information about the shooting should call Lockland police at 761-4924 or 761-1699 or Crime Stoppers at 352-3040. Information kept confidential.
        The shooting, which tied up traffic for three hours and endangered dozens of motorists, is a top priority for police in this village of 4,300 north of Cincinnati.

        They're offering a $1,000 reward for key information. They've installed a separate phone line just for tips on the case. They're getting help from an agent with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification. They've even had preliminary talks with the America's Most Wanted television show.

        Yet they remain stuck in a maze of possible motives and suspects. And they're looking for guidance.

        “If someone could lead us onto the right track, it'd make it a lot easier,” said Lockland Detective Todd Ober. “I think we'll get a break and get on the right track, it's just trying to break through all of the hearsay and rumors we get.”

        The shooting occurred around noon March 30 on southbound I-75 near Lockland's south border. A car pulled alongside the one Mr. Elliot, 19, of Westwood was driving, and someone shot into the driver's side window.

        Mr. Elliot died from a shot to the head. His passenger, Bryon Hyde, 29, of South Cumminsville, fled on foot as the car rolled to a stop. No one was injured, and Mr. Hyde later turned himself in to police. He remains in jail on unrelated drug charges.

        For a crime that was so public, it has been unusually tough to solve, Lockland Police Chief Ken Johnson said.

        Mr. Elliot was well-known throughout Greater Cincinnati, and he had his fair share of enemies, police have found.

        Possible motives for the shooting range from a bad drug deal to retaliation for a December 1998 incident in which Mr. Elliot was suspected of shooting and paralyzing someone, Det. Ober said.

        Police know that Mr. Elliot left his home and picked up Mr. Hyde in Lincoln Heights just before the shooting.

        They wonder if someone saw the men or perhaps witnessed an altercation that may have led to the shooting.

        “Somebody had to have a strong motive to do that in broad daylight and to put other people at risk,” Detective Ober said. “That's why we think something may have happened in Lincoln Heights.”

        Police have interviewed dozens of people over the past two months. One person suspected of being the driver of the shooter's car passed a polygraph test.

        And the labyrinth grows. Many of the people police want to interview have moved several times. Others are known only by nicknames. And each interview leads to more names and possible motives.

        “We've got a thousand different directions to look,” Detective Ober said.

        By now, police almost have given up hope that someone who witnessed the shooting will give them information, Detective Ober said. They hope someone with more reliable information about the shooter will come forward.

        If you have information

        People with information about the shooting should call Lockland police at 761-4924 or 761-1699, or call Crime Stoppers at 352-3040. All information will be kept confidential.


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