MOUNT AUBURN, OH (FOX19) - Led by a Cincinnati group that works to reduce gun violence, community members marched Thursday night through the neighborhood where a 9-year-old girl was gunned down in a double shooting that critically injured her father this week.
Those who turned out for the "Peace March" that began at Burnet and McGregory avenues said they were motivated to rally together in a show of solidarity against such a horrific crime and to show support for the victims' family.
"There has to be more community involvement, we have to get this shooter off the street and people have to participate," said community activist Ozie Davis.
"We have to participate together, all of us. It's absolutely tragic that a young girl with so much hope...life has ended so early."
Phoenix Program at Cincinnati Works organized the march.
"We need everybody in the community on this one," said their recruiter, Mitchell Morris.
"We all have kids and you have a 9-year-old little girl who's been shot like we are in a war zone, like we are in Iraq somewhere. Our city and our community is not going to allow it."
"We need to quit haboring these guys doing these things. The police are doing their jobs. We need to do what we need to do. If you see something, say something. No matter what religion you are or church you go to or financial status, we need you out here. Come out of the sidelines. Come out of the porches," Morris said.
Those who turned out to march said they hope every step taken in is one toward peace.
"It's really about showing, you know, our support of the young people," said resident Tim Sullivan.
"The vigilance against crime and prayers for the family. It's kind of tough to put things in the right words, right perspective but the bottom line is we have to do more for our kids."
Cincinnati police have said they believe there is more than one man responsible. Three black men were seen fleeing the home after the shooting, they said Wednesday night.
Alexandrea Thompson and her father, 39, were shot inside a home in the 2200 block of Burnet Avenue about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to homicide investigators.
She was pronounced dead at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.
Her father was listed in critical condition at last check Wednesday night.
Police have not released a possible motive or said if the victims knew their attackers.
Three black men were seen fleeing the home after the shooting, they said Wednesday night.
Cincinnati city leaders were stunned by the senseless violence of the crime as they offered condolences to the victims' relatives Thursday and called for those who know anything to come forward at once.
"Our hearts are heavy today as we mourn the loss of a child, 9-year-old Alexandrea Thompson, an innocent victim caught in the crosshairs of senseless gun violence," Mayor John Cranley said in a statement.
"I offer my most sincere condolences to the family of this little girl and I will continue to pray for them during this very difficult time.
"Our police department is working ceaselessly to bring those responsible for this murder to justice. At a time when there is very little that can bring this family comfort, I ask that our City join me in praying for Alexandrea and her family."
City Councilwoman Yvette Simpson said: "You know, we can't let this happen. It's just a life cut way too short and it just breaks my heart every time."
Added Councilman Christopher Smitherman: "People who do acts like this do them again. So the reality is if we don't catch them, if we turn a blind eye to it, the reality is it's going to wind up right on your doorstep."
"I don't believe that we have a zero, zero tolerance for this kind of behavior. I do not believe that, and so if we did have it then the three individuals that went into that home would be in jail right now."
Alexandrea's classmates and educators are just as shocked and dismayed as they mourn the loss of one of their brightest lights and spirits.
"We communicated to the children that...go ahead and...we do the balloons, we create the poster boards and just talk about her in a very positive way. Alexandrea was one of our superstars. She was a energetic, intelligent child...one of our school leaders," said Mt. Auburn International Academy Interim Director Claudia Ehrle.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers: 513-352-3040.