By Dan Yount
The Cincinnati Herald
In 2010, Kelli Walton, 26, and her two children were living at the home of her mother in Hawaiian Terrace, when she was shot by her ex-boyfriend. He wanted to continue their relationship so he could be with two of their children, said her mother, Mary Walton.
Mrs. Walton said Kelli had told her the boyfriend was abusive, and she wanted no part of it. So, a little more than nine years ago, he came to the home and shot Kelli seven times, while she was holding her 3-month-old baby girl, Khloe Walton, in her arm. The shots were fatal for Kelli and grazed the head of the infant child, now 9.
Three of other children were in the house at the time, but were not harmed. They were Shamoni McDavis, 9 at the time, Eric Shields, 7, and Cassidy Walton, 3.
The boyfriend was arrested at his home in Covedale and was convicted of first degree murder. He is serving a sentence of 23 years to life in the Ohio prison system.
Her daughter’s children were doing well at home and in school. Then, nine years later on in mid-August, 2019, Mrs. Walton’s grandson, Eric Shields, then 16, was fatally shot in the 700 block of Hopkins Street in the West End at about 10:30 p.m. by someone who had left a party several streets nearby
Mary Walton, 67, speaking in her home, said there were several incidents at her home shortly after the loss of her grandson, and she did not feel safe there. She immediately moved into an apartment with the children and raised them by herself. She had previously raised four of her own children, with her three remaining children living in Cincinnati.
Police questioned a number of people who were at the party, but none of them provided a name of a suspect.
The family members do not believe Eric Shields, 16, was the intended target of the shooter.
“I think that might be the case. Firing shots. Eric was just at the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Shamoni McDavis, Eric’s 18-year-old sister.
McDavis says the violence continues to get worse. “Nothing is changing, nobody is speaking up. I don’t know, everyone has got so much hatred in their heart,” she said.
Cincinnati City Councilman Christopher Smitherman, last year invited Mrs. Walton to speak to the council about the violence that has twice caused grief and disruption in her family.
“Council members expressed their sorrow about what had happened to my family, and they said I and my grandchildren should be as safe outside their home as they are inside it,’’ she said. “Members of the council’s law and public safety committee said they felt the case required further investigation.’’
She says she cannot understand how these young people, who are not hesitant to kill or afraid of going to jail, obtain guns.
“My grandson was a nice young man at home and in school.’’ she said. “He had started school in the 11th grade at St. Paul Crystal de Rey, was good at math and wanted to become an engineer. He also played basketball.’’ She said she was hospitalized a week after Eric was murdered, due to being traumatized.
“I now pray when I wake up every morning that I will be in my right mind. It’s just taken a toll on me,’’ she said, adding that locating the person who did this would help bring closure to her and her family, but not the hurt.
Mrs. Walton is a member of St. Joseph Church in the West End. She worked at the West End Emergency Center. And she speaks to various groups about the impact of the violence in Cincinnati.
Anyone with information about the shooting of Eric is asked to call Crime Stoppers. 513/352-3040.
According to the Greater Cincinnati Crime Stoppers website, “Crime Stoppers is designed to allow the public to give us tips anonymously. Crime Stoppers does not use caller I.D. or record telephone calls. We do not want your name.”