Violence, crime spike in Middletown neighborhood draws urgent action from police

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio -- A Middletown neighborhood could now be one of the "highest crime areas in the city" after a sudden spike in violence.

Crimes of arson, racist fliers and a shooting have plagued Middletown residents in the last couple weeks, and a new police focus will hopefully put an end to the crime spree.

Most recently, a Middletown officer had a gun pointed straight at him.

A 21-year-old Cincinnati man shot and beat another victim Tuesday before threatening Lt. Jim Cunningham with his weapon.

"The fellow did point the gun in my car, once he saw that I was getting close to him, he dropped the gun and took off running," Cunningham said.

The suspect, Nathaniel Turnbow, was charged with assault, having weapons under disability, resisting arrest while brandishing a weapon and receiving stolen property.

RELATED: Police arrest man after Middletown shooting, beating

Cunningham hopes a new police focus will make a difference for the Middletown neighborhood.

"There will be an increase of bike officers and increased officers in marked cars as well as unmarked cars," he said.

Neighbors want a safer place to call home, and worry that the violence is getting worse.

"The whole flier I think was something to cause more violence in Middletown," Brianna Domineck said. "I think this city has turned upside down within the last couple of years."

Domineck referred to a racially explicit flier that some residents received Monday from a group that addresses itself as the “White Guard” promising to protect white people.

The group cited the incident as one reason for their self-appointed mission to protect people from “the ongoing war against our people.”

RELATED: Middletown residents receive racially charged flier

On top of the shooting and fliers, a mother and her two children were terrorized by teens late Tuesday night on May 13. Hours later, somebody set fire to her Middletown home and destroyed it.

Police later charged a 17-year-old with arson.

RELATED: Anguish, fear heard in 911 call before woman's house set ablaze

Police believe the crimes are unrelated, but they're determined to get a handle on the entire situation.

"We have a lot of police calls over there, a lot of rental properties in the neighborhood, and we're putting as much patrol out there as we possibly can at this point," Cunningham said.

WCPO reporter Jay Warren spoke to police and neighbors about the plan to improve the neighborhood.

 

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