Cincinnati police chief goes before City Council to discuss spike in violence

Updated: Jun. 10, 2019 at 8:53 AM EDT
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CINCINNATI, Ohio (FOX19) - It’s been a deadly 11 days in the city of Cincinnati.

In less than two weeks, there’s been eight deadly shootings in Cincinnati, police say.

Overall, there have been 22 homicides since the beginning of the year - and 20 of those are gun-related deaths, they say.

“It’s heartbreaking to see so many young lives being taken," Former CPD officer, Cecil Thomas said.

Thomas, a veteran Cincinnati police detective who is now a state senator said the cause behind it, at least some of it, has to do with the rise in temperature.

Police Chief Eliot Isaac echoed that in remarks he made before Cincinnati City Council’s Law & Public Safety Committee meeting Monday morning.

“Currently in these we’re not seeing them isolated to any one particular neighborhood, they’re happening all over our city,” Chief Isaac said. “Which is something that is disturbing.”

Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman asked the chief to appear and give some insight.

The chief told council two to three officers are leaving the department per month, so even with new recruits hitting the street after graduating from the Cincinnati Police Academy, the police department needs to remain mindful of that as well.

Thomas, who served Cincinnati police nearly three decades, said investigators “start to have the individuals who want to retaliate and there’s a beef of some sort."

Since the start of this year, police officials say there have been 22 homicides.

Twenty of those are gun-related deaths. Eight are deadly shootings that occurred in the past 11 days.

  • On Thursday May 30, Brandon Miller, 29, was fatally shot in the 4300 block of Eastern Avenue at 10:00 p.m.
  • On Friday May 31, David Lynn Jr., 25, was fatally shot in the 3100 block of Durrell Avenue at 9:38 p.m.
  • On Sunday June 2, Taher Taher, 32, was fatally shot in the 3300 block of Bassett Road at 7:54 p.m.
  • On Wednesday June 5, Brandon Phoenix, 19, was fatally shot in the 5400 block of Colerain Avenue at 1:24 p.m.
  • On Wednesday June 5, Gannon Hillman, 25, was fatally shot in the 1900 black of Garden Lane at 4:39 a.m.
  • On Thursday June 6, Ricky D. Lackey, 37, was fatally shot in the 1700 black of Berkley Avenue at 10:37 p.m.
  • On Friday June 7, Paris Crosty, 28, was fatally shot in the 1000 block of Central Avenue at 9:04 a.m.
  • On Sunday June 9, Shawn C. Hope, 39, was fatally shot in the 600 black of Neave Street at 2:47 a.m.

Police made an arrest in the latest shooting, giving at least one family a small amount of closure.

Thomas said cases are likely being built against the suspects in the other incidents.

But, he stressed, it takes time.

“Often times, law enforcement knows who the shooter is but you don’t want to arrest them until having an open and shut case," he said.

Isaac said he believes the department will be able to address the recent spike.

“We have a very solid strategy underway particularly when we focus on our violent offenders, our gun crime initiatives, where we’re focusing on any type of guns used in homicides, we focus on places that we know are responsible for facilitating this criminal activity to take place," he said.

After he retired from CPD, Thomas joined the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission as its executive director.

He focused on helping communities address issues of violence.

Regardless of how it starts, he said they worked to end to it.

Those advocates are out in these neighborhoods today.

Thomas said they are likely aware of the deeper issues behind these shootings.

“What’s most important is people begin to talk. We need to get these people off the streets. We need to help these families understand that we feel your pain. And we’ll do our best to turn this around," he said.

We also talked with Cincinnati police officials.

They shared more insight into the shootings:

  • As of last weekend, there had been 125 shootings in 2019, compared to 136 in 2018
  • As of Friday, there have been 22 homicides in 2019 compared to 30 in 2018, a record-low year
  • Twenty of those slayings are gun-related
  • We are down this year in total homicides and shootings (shootings are down 19 percent over the past three years, according to CPD)

If you know anything about any of these shootings, police ask that you call Crimes Stoppers: 513-352-3040.

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