Walnut Hills mourns at site where 14-year-old was shot to death

CINCINNATI - Balloons, flowers and stuffed animals lie at the corner of Essex Place and Taft Road, just feet from where a 14-year-old was shot to death amid a feud between two rival groups.

Jashawn Martin, 14, and three other males were shot near the busy Walnut Hills intersection at about 3 p.m. Friday after an unspecified altercation broke out between the groups.

Martin, who had stopped to watch the fight, succumbed to his injuries. The three other males who were shot, one of whom is 17 years old, will survive.

Cincinnati police arrested 20-year-old Miniko Hicks, and his half-brother, 18-year-old Donyell Walker. Both face murder charges and additional charges are expected.

The victims were all found within an area about one block long near the Walnut Hills-Avondale border. On Saturday, friends and family of Martin's and concerned members of the community gathered to setup a makeshift memorial for Martin, the third homicide victim in Walnut Hills this year .

Bhagwana Hasan, who said her son was a friend of the slain 14 year old, said Martin was in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

"We just came here today so the kids can see the reality of what happened and where he was and where his last place on earth was," she said of her friends and family members who attended the event. "They just came here to get a little bit of closure."

Hasan labeled Martin a popular, good kid who fell victim to a "bad decision" to watch the fight that had broken out.

“He had so many friends. For some reason he didn’t run to his friends (when the fight broke out)," she said, adding that the Withrow High School freshman was walking to visit a friend when the fight escalated. "He ended up where he ended up just watching a fight. As they all know, they've all been told it can cost you your life."

Officers warned nearby residents of possible "retaliation" to the shooting, and Cincinnati police remained on "high alert" Friday night into early Saturday. While they do not believe the incident was gang-related, CPD is still looking for answers.

"We are actively and very quickly in an emerging investigation so we can find out all players involved in this shooting and equally important, get a handle on what retaliatory acts might be," Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell.

Police believe at least some of those involved attend a nearby high school, and they're working with Janet Walsh with Cincinnati Public Schools to investigate. As of Saturday afternoon investigators were not looking for any additional suspects.

"We're not going to tolerate this type of violence," Blackwell said. "We do know that it involved a lot of young people against another group of young people and a senseless murder -- and it could have jeopardized literally dozens if not hundreds of people at this very busy intersection."

 

Blackwell said the gunfire erupted during a busy time of day while people were waiting at a nearby bus stop and others were walking along a sidewalk in the area.

Ronald Caulton was enjoying a cup of coffee at a nearby White Castle when he noticed a group of teens fighting.

"When I heard gunshots, I immediately took off and ran up there to see what was happening," Caulton said. "I took my jacket off and laid it on him because he looked like he was shivering."

He said he started praying.

"I'm not going to sleep good tonight," Caulton said Friday. "You know, watching him take his last breath."

Donald Tincher said he’s still shaken up.

"Seeing him die I can't ... (it’s) something you don't ever want to see again," he said.

A judge set a $500,000 bond for both Hicks and Walker who are being held at the Hamilton County Justice Center. 

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