Cincinnati hopes witness protection program will help bring out Cameo shooting tips

CCROW named after slain teen Kelsie Crow

CINCINNATI - City leaders are hoping a special program to keep witnesses safe will convince people to come forward with information about the deadly shootings at Cameo Night Club.

The Sunday morning shooting claimed the life of O'Bryan Raphael Spikes and wounded 16 others — five of whom are stil hospitalized.

While police are following up anonymous tips to Crime Stoppers, they want people to know that there's an extra layer of protection through the CCROW program.

Police Chief Eliot Isaac told a city council committee Monday that witnesses are being contacted, but help is needed from the public.

“I want to continue to urge people to call and come forward.  There's still much work to be done,” Isaac said.

Callers worried about their safety will be connected with the Cincinnati Citizens Protect Our Witnesses — or CCROW. It was named after Kelsie Crow, shot to death after attending a Sweet 16 birthday party in Walnut Hills in 2015.

“We're all licensed social workers, all trained in crisis intervention services,” said Karen Rumsey, who heads the program. 

“We do counseling.  We do relocation services if people are afraid that if they come forward, they'll have to move, that they'll be threatened in any way, and it's just wraparound support.”

Peggy Harris is a firm believer in the effort. Her son was murdered 10 years ago and she's active in Who Killed Our Kids.

“Most of the time they're repeat offenders and if they're not stopped, they're going to keep going,” Harris said.

Pastor Peterson Mingo, a street outreach advocate, was in full agreement.

“The community needs to send out a message that we are not going to accept this.  There needs to be no safe haven provided to these individuals,” he said.  “They need to be brought to justice because if they can do this, no one's safe.”

Since the CCROW program began, it has relocated more than a dozen witnesses in Ohio and provided counseling services to dozens of others.

For WCPO's complete coverage on the Cameo nightclub shooting, visit wcpo.com/cameo.

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