2 arrested after shots fired into shopping center

Richard Penter (Source: Hamilton County Sheriff's Office)
Richard Penter (Source: Hamilton County Sheriff's Office)
Jason Maupin (Source: Hamilton County Sheriff's Office)
Jason Maupin (Source: Hamilton County Sheriff's Office)

COLUMBIA TUSCULUM, OH (FOX19) - Two people have been arrested for firing shots into a shopping center in Columbia Tusculum.

The incident started around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday morning in the 3500 block of Columbia Parkway.

Some of the shots were fired from a nearby home into a window at the Gymboree store on Columbia Parkway. The officer who heard the shots narrowed down where they came from as more officers and SWAT were called in and surrounded a home in the 3500 block of Columbia Parkway.

Around 7 a.m., a man left the home and was taken into custody. Officers got a consent to search and entered the residence. Three other people - two men and a woman - were taken into custody for questioning.

Upon further investigation, police arrested Jason Maupin, 23, a resident of the home, and Richard Penter, 24, of Cincinnati. Both are charged with Vandalism, Inducing Panic and Discharging Firearms within City Limits. Police say they were standing on the balcony of the home and firing a S/W 380 bodyguard weapon.

There are no reports of any injuries. The incident shut down both directions of U.S. 50 between Delta Avenue and Stanley Avenue for several hours during morning rush hour.

"It's frustrating to think that people might decide that Columbia Tusculum is an area with a lot of crime because there really isn't a lot of crime here," area business owner and resident Allyn Raifstanger said.

He does however admit the incident is concerning.

"Your talking high powered rifles in the city limits, it's a big big problem, its  big crime," Raifstanger admitted.

"I couldn't believe [it]," Tom Jackson of Tom's Tire Service added. "My son called me about 6 o'clock in the morning and told me there was a shooting down behind my tire shop so I was kind of surprised, you don't hear that too often down here."

He says his tenants living in a house next door were shaken up by the incident.

"My tenants, they was a little scared next door," Jackson said. "So when they called me they was worried a bullet might come through their window, you never know."

Like Raifstanger, however, Jackson believes the neighborhood has been on the upswing.

"Businesses are coming into the area and the neighborhood has improved," Raifstanger said. "It's getting better, and better, and better."

Despite police reports showing some instances of increased crime rates this year, Raifstanger believes incidents like Wednesday morning's shooting are isolated and rare.

"Honestly over the last 30 years there's been a good mix of people," Raifstanger said. "But you don't necessarily get people firing guns out their backdoor like the Clampetts."

FOX19.com will update this story as more information becomes available.

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