Police identify victim killed in Oakley Target shooting

The shooting was not a random act of violence, and the victim was an intended target, according to police.
Published: Mar. 17, 2022 at 1:30 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 18, 2022 at 9:05 AM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - One man is dead after he was shot outside the Target in Oakley Thursday, according to Cincinnati police.

It happened around 12:30 p.m. Dispatchers reported a possible active shooter situation, and CPD responded with SWAT per protocol.

Police later clarified there was no active shooter situation, nor had there been, and that early reports indicating as such were incorrect.

Officers found a man shot at the scene. EMS transported him to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he died.

CPD identified the victim Thursday night as 24-year-old Alias Phillips.

Alias Phillips
Alias Phillips(Cincinnati Police Department)

“The early stages of the investigation reveal the victim was targeted outside the store by the suspect,” a police spokesperson said. “This was not a random act of violence.”

CPD interim Chief Lt. Col. Teresa Theetge said much the same.

“It was a shooter who had an intended target,” she said. “He fired his gun and hit that individual just outside of the front doors of the Target store.”

Demetria Washington says she knew Phillips well, adding that the 24-year-old was “an innocent bystander.”

Washington told FOX19 NOW Phillips’ siblings often played with her children.

“This is an innocent bystander out here,” Washington said. “He came back to visit his mother and siblings.”

Police said Phillips was the shooter’s intended target.

The suspect left the scene in a vehicle. Police have not released a description of the suspect as of 6 p.m. Friday.

Search for Target shooting suspect continues

Police cleared the scene around 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

The investigation by CPD’s Homicide Unit is ongoing. Anyone with information about this homicide is asked to call the Homicide Unit at (513) 352-3542.

Emily Schlake was inside the Target when she says she heard people screaming.

Schlake told FOX19 she saw what she thought were bullet casings outside the store as police escorted shoppers to the parking lot.

“An individual was shot this afternoon in front of our Geier Drive store in Cincinnati,” a Target spokesperson said. “It is not an active shooter situation and all other guests and team members are safe. Our security team immediately called 911 and secured the store. The Cincinnati Police Department is on-site and the store will be closed for the remainder of the day as the investigation gets underway. Target will provide law enforcement with any information needed for their investigation, and we defer any additional questions to them at this time.”

Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval issued the following statement:

We are praying for everyone whose life has been upended by this afternoon’s tragic shooting. I am extremely thankful to our Cincinnati Police for their swift response, their immediate attention to ensuring the safety of all others at the scene and their dedication to searching for the person responsible.

“While today’s shooting was not ultimately an active shooter situation, that does not diminish the unacceptable fact that there is far too much gun violence in our city and across the country. We cannot become numb to this senseless loss of life. We must, and we will, continue to work hard to ensure our neighborhoods are safe for everyone to live a full, happy and meaningful life.”

Colleen Reynolds with the Oakley Community Council thanked Cincinnati police for their “swift response” to the shooting incident.

“While we wait for more information on what transpired,” she said, “I want our residents, businesses, families, friends and neighbors to know that we are committed to keeping our community safe. The Oakley I know is resilient and will recover from this incident stronger than we were before. Anyone who thinks they can bring fear and chaos here is absolutely mistaken.”

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