Mothers speak out against violence in So. Fairmount

By Kimberly Holmes – bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19)  - Melissa Cottman refuses to be quiet about the violence in her neighborhood.

Robbers have tried to break in to her home three times in three weeks. She said it all started after the same crooks think she saw them break into her neighbors' home and beat her sons. Now, the two women are promising to take matters into their own hands if police don't catch the guys.

"The saying is a mother is like a lion," Cottman said. "She'll kill someone over her kids, and that I will do."

Police say they believe the crooks are targeting the So. Fairmount neighborhood, but do not know the victims personally. Cottman said the suspects are armed with guns and a plan to hurt her and her family. Cottman said the group tried to break into her home for the last time yesterday.

"So they were there and I'm like okay. I got you," Cottman said. "Because they were like on the wall. And I was like, do you want me to shoot you? Because I will. I have no problem with it."

The guys then took off through the woods behind Cottman's house.

Cottman said she has a permit to carry a concealed weapon, and now carries her gun wherever she goes.

Cottman said it all started after the suspects believe Cottman saw them break into her neighbor's apartment which is right above her unit.

"On August 16th, my home was invaded," said Denna Brock, Cottman's neighbor.

Brock said the same group kicked in her door, beat her two adult sons, and at one point, even throwing one of them into a wall. Brock said she had to replace her door after the broke it earlier this month. Police said the crooks got away with two televisions, a cell phone, earrings and $30.

"I'm scared every day because I get out and go to work and it's dark outside," said Brock. "I go to church and I go home and it's dark outside. Yesterday, when they came, it was dark outside. I might have just missed them."

The two families who live in the apartment building off the 24-hundred block of White Street aren't the only ones who fear they're being targeted. In fact, families who live along White Street and on neighboring streets said their homes have been broken into by guys who fit similar descriptions.

The two ladies say police have been slow to react, but officers say they're battling a growing caseload.

Meanwhile, neighbors are coming together to try to catch the young suspects. Even construction workers nearby promise to keep an eye on the building.

"My kids are afraid to go to school," Cottman said. "They don't want to leave me. One husband doesn't want to go to work because he doesn't want to leave me, but I got my gun permit for a reason."

Cottman said she's moving her family to another neighborhood this weekend, but before she does, she plans to identify the suspects who are terrorizing her neighborhood.

Police describe the group as such:

1 --- Black male, 18, brown hair braided into dredlocks, brown eyes, light-skin with a red bandana.

2 --- Black male, 18, dark skin, with a red bandana

3 -- Black male, 19, dark skin with a red bandana

Police also believe a 19-year-old white female with blond hair hangs out with the males.

If you have any information, you're urged to call Crimstoppers. 513-352-3040. You can remain anonymous.

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