Chief: More officers assigned weekend shifts after Smale Park shooting

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Posted at 12:12 PM, Jul 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-09 07:25:16-04

CINCINNATI — On Wednesday, Cincinnati police Chief Eliot Isaac said more officers would be assigned weekend shifts starting July 9 after a July 4 shooting killed two teenagers and injured three others at Smale Park.

"The fastest way to assess what is going on in our city is by having boots on the ground to be able to quickly respond if needed," Isaac said in a written statement. "[The Cincinnati Police Department] will add a group of 20-25 officers comprised of both bike and patrol officers to our regular weekend staffing and the efforts of the Gun Crime Task Force."

The extra officers will not provide crowd control at Smale Park, but they will be visible and ready to provide additional resources if needed across the city, according to Isaac.

"We want to make sure that everyone, resident and visitor alike, has a safe and positive experience while enjoying the summer months in Cincinnati,” he said.

RELATED: Cincinnati's teen curfew didn't stop July 4 shooting

This announcement came a day after Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley called the July 4 shootings an issue of "values" and inaction on statewide gun laws.

“What we ultimately need is for the community to step up, as well, and to recommit to true values of self-love and not believing if someone calls you a name or is disrespectful that shooting them is an appropriate response,” he said during a Tuesday afternoon news conference.

According to police, 16-year-old Milo Watson and 19-year-old Dexter Wright Jr. had a pre-existing disagreement that they brought with them to Smale Park on July 4. Each attacked the other at the park. Watson died at the scene, and Wright died later at the hospital.

Three other teenagers — two girls and a boy, all under the age of 18 — were injured in the crossfire. All three were hospitalized. One, a 17-year-old girl, had severe injuries and was in critical condition as of Wednesday afternoon.

Isaac said there could be other people involved in the shooting, but police weren't looking for any additional suspects as of Wednesday afternoon.