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Four dead, two injured in downtown bank shooting

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Law enforcement officials secure the area around Fifth Third Center in downtown Cincinnati following shooting by a lone gunman inside the center on Sept. 6. Herald photo

Four people died, including the gunman, and two were wounded following what police called an active shooter situation in downtown Cincinnati on Thursday, Sept. 6.

The shooting occurred shortly after Fifth Third Center on Walnut Street, a 30-story building at Fountain Square that’s home to regional banker Fifth Third Bancorp and other businesses, opened at 9 a.m.

Police Chief Eliot Isaac said during a press conference two hours later that a gunman entered the building through a loading dock and made his way to the lobby of the office building.

The gunman was confronted by Cincinnati police officers inside of the building, he said, and a shootout commenced.

No officers were injured in the incident, and the gunman’s motive remains unclear.

Officials with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office said they searched the gunman’s apartment North Bend on Cincinnati’s West Side. Police confirm that the gunman was not a current or former employee of the bank.

Officials with University of Cincinnati Medical Center said the hospital received a total of four victims: Three males and one female. Three of those patients are among the dead, and one is in serious condition.

Paramedics carry a victim of the Fifth Third Bank shooting on Sept. 6 to an ambulance in downtown Cincinnati. Photo by Eric Kearney

Witnesses in the area of Fountain Square described hearing more than a dozen gunshots ring out during the morning rush.

Eric Kearney, president of the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce, was in a board meeting across the street from the bank. He did not hear the shots, he said, but he saw emergency responders wheeling out victims on stretchers.

Several nearby buildings were placed on lockdown as the situation unfolded. SWAT teams swept several of those buildings to ensure safety and to search for possible additional victims.

Officials with Fifth Third bank released a statement in wake of the shooting, saying, “Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone caught up in this terrible event. We continue to work with law enforcement as we ensure the safety of our employees and customers.’’

Mayor John Cranley also said in a statement, “First and foremost, our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and their families. Cincinnati’s finest police and firefighters acted swiftly and courageously, and we are indebted to their heroic service. They were able to stop the threat and clearly prevented a much worse tragedy and loss of life.

“Our country is the only first-world nation with this level of mass shootings. This is an American problem, that we as Americans must solve by putting ideology last and human life first … Our hearts are broken today.”

Acting City Manager Patrick Duhaney said, “This is a true tragedy. Our police and fire departments once again bravely answered the call of duty and performed phenomenally when they were called upon. Their actions undoubtedly saved lives today.’’

Cincinnati Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman, who chairs the city’s law and public safety committee, said, Cincinnati has never been immune from this type of violence. It has always been a question of when, not if.

Smitherman says there needs to be a conversation about conceal and carry laws, for people kill people, not guns. “We also need to discuss whether we need a full-time SWAT team, have additional officers, provide more training and some other things,’’ he said.’’

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