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CINCINNATI -- DEC. 17, 2013 - Cincinnati police say Leah Johnson, 3, was shot outside an apartment in Avondale during a gun battle.
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Police want to break the silence in shooting of 3-year-old Avondale girl

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CINCINNATI -- A 3-year-old girl was caught in gunfire just one day ago in Avondale, but police said nobody in the community seems to know what happened, or at least they're staying silent. 

That silence, police believe, is keeping them from finding who shot young Leah Johnson and barely missed her spine.

Officers have turned to the people of Avondale for answers. Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell asks the community to be brave, and if someone knows more about the shooting that struck Johnson, to share information with police.

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WCPO reporter AJ Walker visited Avondale Wednesday to speak to some of its residents. She found many are living in fear of retaliation. They're scared to come forward, scared to talk about what happened Tuesday morning when the toddler was shot.

"But my kids can't even go to the park because someone got shot at the park," neighbor Marquetta Sanders said, "it be a lot of shooting going on there down there."

Community leaders said it's okay to let go of that fear. Talking, they believe, could help get Johnson's shooter off the street.

Community Organizer Ozie Davis said, "Here are enough good people that are rallying around one another, that you don't have to be scared no more."

Crime Stoppers are so determined to find who is responsible for Johnson's shooter that they're raising the reward they usually offer when working to crack a case. Crime Stoppers could reward someone with $2,000 for information that leads police to an arrest. Crime Stopper can be reached at (513) 352-3040.

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