Wednesday, July 11, 2001

Flurry of shots punctuates call to end violence

Black leaders out in force to cool tempers

By Susan Vela, Earnest Winston and Allen Howard
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        One man walked across the hall from his girlfriend's Westwood apartment to find the source of a power outage and was killed in a gang-style shooting.

        Two motorists were shot in daylight on Vine Street. Another was critically wounded by gunfire while standing on a street in Over-the-Rhine.

        And a would-be thief opened fire with an automatic weapon on Cincinnati police officers Thomas Haas and Rob Shircliff on Elm Street in Over-the-Rhine, authorities say.

        It was perhaps the most violent 24 hours in Cincinnati since the April riots; it started at 4 p.m. Monday.

        On Tuesday night, the Rev. Damon Lynch III of New Prospect Baptist Church sent teams of three and four people into Over-the-Rhine to talk to people about the escalating violence, which authorities believe is rooted in drugs and gang activity.

        The Rev. Mr. Lynch deplored the number of shootings.

        “I've lost count of the number since April. One would be too many for me,” he said. “The answer: We must be out in the community talking to our people.”

        Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen called the violence unbelievable.

        “It's something that I've never seen in my 25-plus years in law enforcement. There's a total feeling of lawlessness.”

        African-American community leaders have marched through Cincinnati streets and held rallies to end the violence.

        The Rev. Leslie Gaines and Tyrone Smith of Everybody's Tabernacle Church spent Tuesday morning in Over-the-Rhine talking to residents about the violence in the neighborhood.

        “We've been out just about every day since the riots broke out, trying to bring some unity and love to the community, and spread the message about stopping the violence,” Mr. Smith said.

        The increased gunfire has plagued some city neighborhoods since a Cincinnati police officer fatally shot an unarmed Over-the-Rhine teen April 7. The shooting sparked days of protest and rioting in the city.

        Mr. Allen said there were 55 shootings in the city since the riots. Nearly all the shooting victims are African-American, as are the suspects.

        Fraternal Order of Police President Keith Fangman said Tuesday that by his tally there have been 69 shootings in the city since April. He said 10 Cincinnati police officers have been shot at over the last 14 months.

        Mr. Fangman suggested Tuesday to Mayor Charlie Luken that he gather Police Chief Tom Streicher, business leaders and City Council members for a press conference to announce that the city would no longer tolerate the upsurge in violence.

        “That's what needs to happen to change this OK Corral mentality,” said Mr. Fangman.

        The violence began Monday afternoon when a man pulled a handgun and fired several shots at a motorist on Vine Street. The driver was taken to University Hospital, where he was in stable condition.

        Another motorist was struck by a stray bullet and was treated and released. No arrests have been made.

        Monday night, Karlil Irby, 21, whose address is unknown, was shot on East 14th Street in Over-the-Rhine. Mr. Irby remains in critical condition at University Hospital.

        The fatal shooting occurred Monday night.

        Derrick Harris, 58, was visiting his girlfriend, Annette Mackey, at 3401 McHenry Ave. when he was killed. A relative of Ms. Mackey said two men entered the apartment complex about 9:30 p.m. through a door that is usually closed.

        He said the two men went downstairs to a utility room and turned off the power to the apartment where Ms. Mackey lived.

        When Mr. Harris opened the door to check on the power outage, he was forced back inside and shot.

        Witnesses said they heard four shots in succession, a pause, and then a fifth shot. Mr. Harris was pronounced dead at the scene.

        Deangelo Williams, 34, is the man police say tried to snatch jewelry from the driver of a Lexus in Over-the-Rhine about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, then fired an automatic weapon at Officer Haas as he chased him down Elm Street.

        Other officers arrived to help, and Mr. Williams allegedly shot at Officer Shircliff while fleeing on Dunlap Street.

        Police caught Mr. Williams after finding him in the rear yard of a residence at 214 Findlay Street.

        Antione Huntley, 22, of Over-the-Rhine said he feels unsafe in his neighborhood.

        “I think it's terrible,” Mr. Huntley said. “It's not safe — not even in the daytime. Ever since the riots, it's been off the hook.”


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