• Sat. Oct 1st, 2022

OTR Shooting: Witnesses react to seeing friends, strangers shot in OTR

By: Taylor Weiter , Christian LeDuc

WCPO.COM

CINCINNATI — All nine victims are out of the hospital after a shooting in Over-The-Rhine overnight.

Cincinnati police said eight males and one female ranging in age between 23 and 47 were either taken to the hospital by EMS or self-transported after shots were fired near the intersection of Main and Woodward streets at around 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

Eugene Fairbanks was nearby when the shooting happened, saying the night went from fun to chaotic when a fight broke out.

“Everybody was here having a nice time, you know, laughing, talking, then all of a sudden two young ladies get into a fight and that’s how everything jumped off,” Fairbanks said. “It was one shot like five times and then after that, it was like six more shots.”

Police said officers originally responded to the area to disperse a large disorderly crowd. While breaking it up, two groups got into a physical altercation. CPD said at least two people involved pulled out guns and exchanged shots. At least 15 rounds were fired.

Lifejourney Kountiuez said she was grazed by a bullet during the shooting.

“Someone just began shooting into the crowd,” Kountiuez said. “People began to hit the ground, I was grazed in my leg. My friend was running beside me — she was struck and hit.”

Fairbanks and his friend hit the ground, but others near him were hit bullets.

“After (the) last shots … I got up and seen my peoples laying on the ground,” Fairbanks said. “I ran up to one of my friends, he was shot in the leg. It was crazy.”

CPD said an officer assigned to the Civil Disturbance Response Team, Joe Shook, discharged one round at an individual he saw shooting at the intersection. The person fled east toward Sycamore Street. Officers also deployed two “bang balls” — percussion instruments used by police — to disperse the crowd and attend to the injured.

Mayor Aftab Pureval called the shooting “completely and totally unacceptable” during a Sunday afternoon press conference. He said this shooting and those in recent months and years are not like the shootings of years past that were “concentrated around the drug trade.” Instead, Pureval said the city needs the community’s support and help in resolving differences without gunfire.

Kountiuez said she is traumatized by the shooting.

“It was painful to watch my community fall with such a tragedy, with such violence against our people,” Kountiuez said.

Cincinnati councilman Scotty Johnson said the violence caused by only a few makes it bad for everyone in the neighborhood.

“The people that live in OTR, the people that live around Main Street, the owners of the business around there do not deserve this,” Johnson said. “They don’t deserve this.”

Fairbanks echoed Johnson’s sentiments, calling the shooting “nonsense.”

“This block right here, we’re like a village around here,” he said. “This nonsense shooting don’t need to be down here, not on Main Street. Main Street is nothing but fun, partying.”

Police are still looking for at least two shooters. Anyone who may have witnessed the incident or has additional information is asked to call the CPD Criminal Investigations Section at 513-352-3542.

Reprinted with permission from WCPO.com