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CINCINNATI - The sound of gunfire punctured the warm winter air Friday afternoon on crowded Park Avenue near William Howard Taft in Walnut Hills. Witnesses reported hearing an argument before the shooting began.
Within seconds, Chris Williams, 24, lay dead of a bullet wound. His friend, Lamont Lewis, was shot in the arm and taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center for treatment.
Minutes later, Cincinnati police officers arrested two suspects in Eden Park after a brief chase. Omar Jackson was charged late Friday in connection with the shooting. He appeared in court for his arraignment hearing early Saturday morning.
Williams' aunt, Shequita Lail, screamed loudly as she rushed to the scene and absorbed the news that her nephew was dead. At one point, she fainted and required brief treatment from Cincinnati Fire Department paramedics.
"Christopher was a good kid," she said. "He didn't have no record. He graduated from Princeton High School. He was an aspiring rapper. The only downfall was that he was living in the Alms. That's the only downfall."
Another aunt, Marquita Barron, termed the homicide pointless and senseless.
"It's like people just need to grow up and guns are not necessary," she solemnly said. "It's just stupid."
Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Lakshmi Scmmaro said there have been too many shootings and the entire community has to get involved to stop the violence.
She added she was thankful that more people weren't hurt because the shots were fired across the street from a high-rise building for senior citizens and a block away from Frederick Douglass Elementary School
"There are little kids leaving the school going home walking home and this is horrible," she said. "This is horrible any time, but especially when there are little kids walking home from school."
Lail strongly called for Cincinnati Police Chief James Craig to fix the problem.
"You came here, Craig. Fix it," she demanded. "This is your job. Fix it."
She said instead of putting in a streetcar system, the city needs to invest in ways to take guns off the streets.
"There's too many kids running around here killing just because they want to kill -- just because they want to make a name for themselves -- just because they want to be macho," she said. "They're dropping out of school. They're doing things they have no business doing."
"Craig came here. Fix it," she continued. "If you ain't going to fix it, you need to go back and you need to bring somebody in that's going to fix it. This needs to stop. There's too many people and kids that are getting killed for unnecessary reasons and they need to be going to school and to graduate. They're looking to die before they can graduate."
Lt. Kimberly Williams, acting Public Information Officer for the police department, said stopping the violence is something that requires participation from every citizen.
"Obviously, the gun violence has been an issue, not only here but in other parts of the country. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family here," she said. "We just hope that the citizens of Cincinnati realize that it takes all of us working together to help prevent this type of incident.
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