By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati suffered its most deadly night of an already increasingly violent year, with three men dead by dawn Wednesday, a teenager shot and the arrest of a suspect who was prepared enough for the gunfight to wear body armor.
Three fatal shootings within four hours brought the city's homicide total to 27 - a 35 percent increase in killings over this time in 2002, which ended in a 15-year record high.
The fatalities were compounded by more gunfire throughout the city - in Evanston, where a 16-year-old was shot in the arm; in Westwood, where five people were shot at but escaped injury in a gunfight in the 2400 block of Harrison Avenue; and in at least five locations in Over-the-Rhine.
Arrests were made in two of the shootings. But police were still looking for some of the occupants of a white Humvee stretch limousine who were at the scene of a shooting at Thornton's in Paddock Hills. A fight either inside the limo or next to it preceded the shooting, Capt. Vince Demasi said.
"But everyone pretty much skedaddled,'' he said, "so we're still trying to reconstruct it.''
Thomas Koroma, 30, of Clifton, found lying in the street at 2:15 a.m. at 1223 Republic St., a well-known spot for drugs and violence and the same area Timothy Thomas was killed by a Cincinnati police officer two years ago. Koroma died at 8 a.m. at University Hospital.
Antonio Brady, 23, of Madisonville, was shot multiple times just before 10:30 p.m. in the Thornton's lot. He died at University Hospital at 11 p.m. Tuesday.
Varion Mines, 23, of Westwood, was shot just after 11 p.m. on Short Vine Street in Corryville. He was pronounced dead at University Hospital at 6 a.m. Wednesday. Part of the neighborhood is on District 4's list of hot spots, chosen because of violent incidents and calls for service. Police expressed continued frustration about the growing homicide pace. Chief Tom Streicher already has borrowed six detectives from other areas of the department to work the glut of homicide cases.
"There's some things that are out of our control," said Lt. Anthony Carter, police spokesman and a former homicide supervisor. "Could we ever guess that there would be a birthday party in a Humvee and it would pull into a parking lot and there would be a shooting?"
In Evanston about 10:30 p.m., Deborah Buchanan called 911 to say her 16-year-old son, Peris Ross, had been shot in the arm in front of their house on Hewitt Avenue. Police arrested a man the victim knew, Christopher Burroughs, 18, and charged him with felonious assault.
In Westwood, a gunfight on Harrison Avenue sprayed bullets into several parked vehicles but caused no injuries.
Police arrested one man seen running from the gunfight just after 8 p.m. When officers caught Arthur Thomas, 23, of Queen City Avenue, he was wearing a bullet-resistant vest under his shirt. He was charged with obstruction of official business, fleeing and possession of marijuana.
Also in that incident, police issued arrest warrants for Quincy Warren and Damone Thomas, who were listed on reports as both victims and shooters.
"All I heard was shooting, that's it,'' said Gloria Williams, who called 911. "And I picked up the phone.''
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