CINCINNATI – The man accused of opening fire first at Cameo Night Club now faces two murder charges, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters announced Thursday.
Deters called the March 26 shooting at the East End club a “shoot-out” and not a “mass shooting.”
“This wasn’t like somebody going into a school and trying to create a body count,” he said. “These were guys shooting at each other and many innocent people were in between the two.”
Cornell Beckley, 27, had already been charged with one count of murder for the death of 27-year-old O’Bryan Spikes. Thursday’s indictment added the following charges:
- Another count of murder for the death of 29-year-old Deondre Davis
- Two counts of involuntary manslaughter
- Thirty counts of felonious assault
- One count of weapon under disability
- One count of illegal possession of a firearm in a liquor permit premises
- One count of carrying concealed weapons
- One count of inducing panic
A judge issued a $1.7 million bond against Beckley in court on March 31 — $100,000 for each of the victims.
If convicted of all charges, he faces a life sentence – or as Deters described it: 230 years in prison.
"These people are just out of control," Deters said in an interview. "Who shoots guns in a crowded nightclub? Who does that? It's bad."
Davis was taken off life support and died Tuesday.
Davis had also been charged in Spikes' murder, but Deters said all charges against him have been dismissed posthumously.
If Davis had survived the shooting, Deters said he would be facing the same murder charge as Beckley, due to a legal term known as “transferred intent.”
He said both Beckley and Davis used guns in the club and it didn’t matter whose bullet ultimately killed Spikes. Both men were also not allowed to be carrying a weapon because of prior charges.
“When I started this case, I said ‘anyone in that bar that you see or can identify with a gun, shooting it, we’re going to charge them with murder,’” Deters said. “We use (transferred intent) all the time.”
Beckley’s attorney, Clyde Bennett, has called the case against his client “fundamentally weak.”
"How can you charge two people with firing one bullet? (Spikes) was only struck one time," Bennett said. "There's a lot about this case that doesn't make sense."
Deters said the shoot-out started from an earlier dispute "over nothing" between two groups, one from Madisonville and another from Price Hill.
“The Madisonville people just left a funeral for a friend of theirs. They were upset that the Price Hill people were there,” Deters said. “(At the club), they were aiming their fingers at each other (like a gun). Beckley then got up on a stage... and fired a gun (four times).”
Deters said Beckley used a .25-caliber revolver and Davis later fired a .40-caliber Glock at least eight times. He said it’s possible there was a third shooter because a 9 mm gun was found at the scene.
The shooting injured 17 people total, ultimately killing Spikes and Davis. Police say they recovered 16 casings in the club from Beckley and Davis’ weapons as well as from the 9 mm weapon.
Authorities were hoping to remove a bullet from Davis' kidney during the autopsy that would show who fired the fatal shot.
Deters claimed that many “bad people” were at the club and that Cincinnati is safe for people following the law.
"They were dealing with drugs. They have multiple convictions for dealing in drugs," Deters said. "Don’t get me wrong. It’s not all of them. There were some people who had nothing. But the majority had criminal records.
"If you’re not in the drug trade or hanging out with drug dealers, Cincinnati is a pretty safe place.”
He said Spikes was from the Price Hill group and Davis was in the Madisonville group, but this was not a “turf war” and no one person was a “target.”
“They’re just strangers,” Deters said. “Someone disrespected somebody. To explain this behavior is way past me.”
Jackie Davis, Davis’ father, said he believes his son was innocent and that not all the facts in this shooting have been revealed.
"There is no way my son could do this," Davis said. "I don't believe he could do this."
Deters had another opinion.
"It’s his family. It’s hard to accept when your son has died. It’s hard to sometimes accept what we believe the facts to be, but we have witnesses who saw (Davis) do that."
Deters added that there was no video recorded from inside the club and he had no knowledge of how the weapons entered the building.
"Everyone wants to blame the security measures, the owner of the bar, things of that nature. There were criminals in this place with guns," he said. "That is who is to blame. Everyone wants to find an excuse. But keep your eye on the ball here…innocent people were hurt.”
At the end of a news conference Thursday, Deters spoke about the nightclub shooting, as well as answered questions about the recent death of 18-year-old Madie Hart, who was apparently struck intentionally by a car Downtown at almost the exact time of the Cameo shooting. He also spoke briefly about the homicide of 44-year-old Jamie Urton in Walnut Hills on March 24.
“Three incidents in such a short time in this city. Just such senseless violence,” he said. “It could be a long summer.”
Watch the full news conference with Deters in the video player below.
For more coverage on the Cameo Night Club shooting, visit WCPO.com/Cameo. Police ask anyone with information in the nightclub shooting to contact Crime Stoppers at 513-352-3040.