Cincinnati vigil for homicide victims gives hope to victims' families, courage to witnesses

Posted at 9:43 AM, Apr 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-02 22:12:36-04

CINCINNATI -- Karen Rumsey spends her days talking with families who don't have closure. Someone has killed their loved ones. The killers are still free.

Through her work for the Cincinnati Police Department's Homicide Victims Liaison Unit, Rumsey and her colleagues make hundreds of monthly calls to homicide victims' families. She sees too few people willing to come forward in too many cases.

That's why Rumsey said Sunday's Victims of Homicide memorial is so important. The vigil, held at the Hamilton County Justice Center, can offer hope to families -- and courage to witnesses.

At first, Cincinnati police said they were having trouble getting witnesses from Cameo Night Club to talk about the mass shooting there. Then late last week, two men -- Cornell Beckley, 27, and Deondre Davis, 29 -- were charged with murder.


"We're hoping that now that there's arrests, that maybe people will feel a little bit more confident about coming forward," Rumsey said. "And again, I just can't say enough: We will help anyone that comes forward...I mean, there is protection for people that come forward."

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In other cases, Rumsey said said bridging the gap -- and getting witnesses to talk -- comes down to pure frustration at violence plaguing some Cincinnati neighborhoods.

"Really kind of what it takes for people to come forward is just the courage and being mad, being fed up that this continues to happen -- this senseless gun violence continues to happen in our community," she said.