1 dead, 1 hurt in shootings near anti-violence march

Two shootings, one fatal, near anti-violence march in Over-the-Rhine
Published: Jun. 22, 2015 at 11:48 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 23, 2015 at 4:18 PM EDT
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Justin Crutchfield (Provided by Cincinnati police)
Justin Crutchfield (Provided by Cincinnati police)

OVER-THE-RHINE (FOX19) - An 18-year-old man died and a second was injured in two separate shootings within a mile of each other near an anti-violence march Monday.

Witnesses told police that at least three people fired guns at Race and Elder streets near Findlay Playground about 7 p.m.

The victim, Justin Crutchfield, was taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

A participant in the march, former city councilman Cecil Thomas, saw Crutchfield down in the street and initially thought the teen was struck by a car.

I said 'Let me see if we need to call 911.' When I got up there, I realized that he had not been hit, that he had been shot," said Thomas, a retired Cincinnati police detective. "He was trying to move, and I was trying to keep him from moving. I didn't want him to aggravate any injuries that were already there."

Ironically, the march was an attempt to help young men just like the ones involved in the shooting.

"That's why we were here - believing that if we can connect with them, we can begin to try to help them transition their lives," Thomas said.

The march was to stop at Findlay Playground, but that's where the bullets started flying.

"As I came down here, I immediately recognized there were a lot of people in the park. I said, 'that's a perfect time to go and engage them," Thomas said.

Deana Brown, 43, said she was in the park with her 8-year-old granddaughter when she heard what she thought were fireworks.

"Then I saw kids running," she said. "I don't know if they were all firing at each other, but I saw Mr. Crutchfield running away and a shooter shooting at him as he ran away. One of the gunmen kept firing over all those children playing. He shot at (Crutchfield) as he ran away."

Fearing retaliation, Brown said she didn't tell police at the scene what she saw. She is uncertain whether to come forward.

"I am going to pray on it," she said Tuesday morning.

Police searched overnight for two shooters. No arrests were announced.

A second shooting occurred about 30 minutes later in neighboring West End, at Livingston and Linn streets.The man was found shot in his thigh, police said. 

He was transported to University of Cincinnati Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries. 

The victim told police the suspects tried to rob him.

It doesn't appear the two shootings are connected, police said.

They come as shootings in Cincinnati are at a 10-year high.

A 90-day plan to try to quell the violence was to begin Sunday, but it was postponed after a veteran Cincinnati police officer was shot and killed in an ambush Friday on a Madisonville street.

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