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Man killed outside Oakley Target had returned to Cincinnati to help mother with health issues, family says

Alias Phillips, Shroder grad, killed in shooting
Alias Phillips
Posted at 6:22 PM, Mar 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-18 18:22:09-04

CINCINNATI — Witnesses at the deadly shooting outside an Oakley Target said they saw a woman with the shooter recording the incident on her phone.

Police are still searching for the person who killed 24-year-old Alias Phillips in front of the store Thursday afternoon. An aspiring musician, his family said Phillips had put his career on hold to help his mother through health struggles. Now, his loved ones are struggling to understand his violent death.

"You come back to visit your loved ones, and then lose your life in the process," said Demetria Washington, who knew Phillips. "I just hope we don't get to judging a book by its cover and not looking and exploring who he really was as a person."

His family said the Shroder graduate had recently moved back to Cincinnati. He went shopping at Target with others Thursday, but witnesses said on their way inside, a stranger pulled up and challenged Phillips to a fight.

Those with him said they continued inside, but the man followed them around with his hands clutching something in his pocket. They lost sight of the man until they walked outside, when witnesses say he aimed a gun at them. Bullets only hit and killed Phillips.

His loved ones said a woman was recording the entire thing.

"What I'm feeling and thinking is the lack and respect for people's life," Washington said. "That's the whole puzzling thing nowadays is whatever situation it was, was it worth taking another person's life?"

Phillips is one of 64 people shot in Cincinnati so far this year — more than the city has seen at this point in four years. Of the 16 homicides this year, police made arrests in just six. The others are unsolved cases torturing families.

"Most importantly they want answers," said Karen Rumsey, Cincinnati police's witness advocate. "Justice is a different topic, but answers at least why? How?"

As advocates comfort Phillips' family and detectives continue to search for his killer, witnesses beg for justice and closure.

24-year-old shot, killed outside Oakley Target
Police identify man shot dead in OTR Thursday morning