Police: Shots fired after Elder game came from area near cemetery

Cincinnati FOP President Sgt. Dan Hils announces Elder reward

WEST PRICE HILL (FOX19) - New developments in the investigation into a triple shooting at Elder High School's athletic complex and a reward were exclusively announced on FOX 19 NOW Thursday.

Cincinnati Police Sgt. Dan Hils, president of the police union, said an anonymous donor has come forward with a $2,500 reward for information in the case that leads to the arrest of the shooting suspect.

He said the donor would be appreciative if someone else also would step up with a $2,500 match to make the total reward $5,000.

Hils also announced the lead investigator on the case, District 3 Detective Joe Coombs, believes the shots were fired from a rifle about two-thirds of a mile away from the athletic field, in the area of Baltimore Pike Cemetery. That's located off Cavanaugh and McHenry avenues near Elder's athletic complex.

"$5,000 - that's a nice round number and we are hoping that if we get someone to match the anonymous donor with $2,500 that they would want to reach out to me," Hils said.

"This particular donor wanted to work specifically with me and stay anonymous and and anybody that wants to do the same thing and match this anonymous donor we would welcome that and I know Detective Coombs would welcome that because it might bring forth some information."

Three men - a recently retired Cincinnati police officer, his son and an Elder teacher who also is the assistant athletic director - were shot Sept. 27 after a soccer game at the private Catholic high school's Panther Athletics Complex off Quebec Road.

Bullets grazed the retired officer and his son, 20. Both refused medical treatment.

The third victim and an Elder teacher, Kevin Espelage, 44, was shot in the upper thigh and is recovering.

The shooting occurred during post-game festivities for Elder's "Senior Night" soccer match against Moeller High School.

Police and Elder officials have said the victims were not the intended targets.

Hils is not so sure.

"The truth is we don't know yet whether or not it was completely accidental, somebody shooting at maybe another fixed point somewhere else, not realizing they were bringing bullets down on human beings at a very innocent event or if somebody was looking at the stadium and deciding to shoot at the stadium with the lights and everything that were on. We don't know and Detective Coombs is very determined to find out."

Anyone with information is asked to call Cincinnati District 3 Police Detective Joe Coombs: 513-263-8327.

To match the $2,500 reward, contact Sgt. Dan Hils: 513-381-2550.

Callers can remain anonymous.

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