Blue Ash steps up patrols after shootout

Blue Ash steps up patrols after shootout
Residents express concern at a community meeting following a shootout in the Hazelwood neighborhood Sunday. (FOX19 NOW)
Residents express concern at a community meeting following a shootout in the Hazelwood neighborhood Sunday. (FOX19 NOW)

BLUE ASH, OH (FOX19) - Police officials announced they are stepping up patrols in the Hazelwood neighborhood after a weekend shootout.

The move comes as police try to reassure concerned residents in this normally quiet northeastern Hamilton County city and solve the crime.

"A large part of Blue Ash Police Department's time and resources are being devoted to this shooting incident," said Police Chief Paul Hartinger in a prepared statement.

"Well-trained, experienced investigators are providing their expertise to connect bullets to guns to shooters. That information will determine the next steps that the department will take in the investigation.

"In the meantime, in an effort to make the local residents feel more comfortable, there will be extra patrol dedicated to this area for the next few days."

Police are looking for three suspects after the shootout and subsequent four-vehicle accident that injured three people about 11:25 a.m. Sunday.

Multiple rounds were fired between several people on Oak Street in the Hazelwood neighborhood. Investigators say they recovered two handguns and at least 10 rounds were fired before the suspects fled.

A short time later, a person suffering from gunshot wounds was then part of the accident at the intersection of Cornell and Deerfield roads, police have said. They believe a second wounded victim fled on foot.

Three people from the crash were taken to local hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.

No arrests have been made as police continue to investigate.

"This was an isolated incident where everyone involved in the shooting know each other," the chief said in the statement.

"It was not a random altercation, but an exchange between acquaintances, all of whom had ties to the Hazelwood Community.

"Activity like this is very rare here. This is a safe community."

Historically, nothing like this has happened since the 1990s, city officials said, and crime has seen a decline.

They said a major reason why shootings like the one Sunday are so rare in the area is the communication between residents and the police force.

"When there is a strong tie between the law enforcement and those they are protecting, neighborhoods are safer," the city's statement reads.

"The community can have control over situations like this by knowing each other and knowing when things are out of the ordinary. Further, when there is a normal rhythm of reporting suspicious or destructive behavior, police officers can take the proper steps to deter crime from taking place.

"Residents who are intentional about knowing their neighbors will be better equipped to serve their communities and recognize any potential problems."

Anyone with information about Sunday's shooting is urged to call Blue Ash police: 513-745-8555 or submit an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers: 513-352-3040.

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