Walnut Hills seeks positive change after deadly shooting - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Community seeks positive change after deadly shooting

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Shooting scene on Park Ave. last Friday where Christopher Williams was killed Shooting scene on Park Ave. last Friday where Christopher Williams was killed
Walnut Hills Area Council President, Clarence Taylor, hopes to bring change to business district Walnut Hills Area Council President, Clarence Taylor, hopes to bring change to business district
WALNUT HILLS, OH ( FOX19) -

As the family of shooting victim Christopher Williams laid the young man to rest Friday, community leaders highlighted ongoing efforts to improve the Walnut Hills area to bring long-term positive change.

"Right now I'm angry but we need to come together," said Shequita Lail, aunt of the victim.

"It takes a village," echoed her sister Marquita Barron. "We used to all do that, and that's what we are going to do now."

The family of Christopher Williams who was shot and killed on Park Avenue last week vowed to join the fight against gun violence.

"Christopher did not die in vain," Barron said. "We're not going to let that happen. We are five sisters strong."

"We're ready to put an end to this," Lail emphasized.

Outside of the funeral Friday stood a group of men who are already warriors in the ongoing effort to curb crime.

"We need to do it collectively from all aspects of the community," CIRV team leader Aaron Pullins said.

CIRV, or the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence, helps de-escalate tense situations like the one following Friday's shooting. The ultimate goal, however, is prevention.

"Young men need jobs, education. They need resources to assist them in terms of changing," Pullins told FOX19.

As Walnut Hills Area Council President, Clarence Taylor is looking to bring change in a different way.

"I'm looking at all those units you see with the windows out, people living in them," Clarence Taylor said pointing to a block of historic buildings on McMillan in Walnut Hills.

Taylor is a part on a larger effort that includes the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation that is looking to revitalize the business district.

 

Raised in Walnut Hills, Taylor says he is invested for the long-haul.

"What Walnut Hills is doing is we're recapturing what every good community should be doing," Taylor said. "By doing that we're keeping a clean place, we're trying to keep it safe and by keeping it safe we want to get buildings safe as well."

With money already set aside to renovate six historic buildings, he sees revitalization as a ray of hope for people living in the community.

"Hopefully when these businesses get developed they can work in these businesses, they might be able to work in the development of it."

While some might see the neighborhood through the lens of the latest headline, Taylor sees a bigger picture.

"You don't want that to occur, you don't want the perception to re-occur because we've gone through this and it's gotten so much better," he said.

"People can't be observing anymore, they've got to participate," encouraged Barron.

Taylor says stabilization work on the historic buildings will begin this spring.

According to the latest crime statistics, violent crime actually went down last year in District 4 over the previous year. 

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