Police take 6 into custody after 3-year-old girl shot in Avondale gun battle

Family: Leah Johnson in critical condition in ICU

CINCINNATI -- Six people are in custody after a 3-year-old girl was shot during a gun battle early Tuesday in Avondale.

The shooting began on Irving Street at about 2:20 a.m. and ended on Tacoma Avenue in the Colonial Village apartment complex, according to police.

RELATED: Child injured in Avondale shooting one of many | Latest District 4 crime stats

Leah Johnson

The toddler, later identified as Leah Johnson, was shot in the buttocks. She was with her guardian outside taking out the trash when the shooting happened, according to police.

Johnson was taken to Children's Hospital for surgery.

"It hurts bad. It hurts bad to see a child like that, especially since it's my nextdoor neighbor -- someone I'm real close to.
 I can't do this. I can't. I don't want to stay down here no more,” neighbor Marquatta Sanders said.\

Officials said Johnson was released from surgery by mid-morning and was in critical condition at an ICU ward.

Her family is by her side.

There's over 40 people for her here right now," her uncle Frank Jones said. "We're waiting on good news."

Investigators said they believe at least two gunmen were involved in the running gun battle and SWAT was called when two men barricaded themselves inside of an apartment in the 3600 block of Irving Avenue.

Six people voluntarily surrendered and were taken into custody for questioning at about 7:30 a.m.

Close to 20 shell casings were found stretched over a 100 foot area.

Officers temporarily closed off Tacoma Avenue at Forest Avenue while crime scene technicians examined the scene.

Avondale is not stranger to violence. More than a year and a half ago, a 4-year-old boy was shot while playing outside his Blair Avenue home.

"I just would like for these guys to put these guns down and stop all the nonsense," Jones said.

Violent crimes in the District 4 community have increased in the past month, according to statistics released by the Cincinnati Police Department .

Property crime in the neighborhood has decreased by 10 percent.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 513-352-3040.

Stay with WCPO for updates as they become available.

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