CINCINNATI — Police said an anonymous tip helped track down a suspect who confessed to shooting and paralyzing an 18-year-old boy earlier this month.
As the sound of fireworks faded July 5, gunfire rang out on a playground off Republic Street. Police arrived to find Eugene Felton, 18, with multiple gunshot wounds. The shooter had already fled the scene, and police could only find one witness to talk about what had happened.
The next day, Eugene’s mother, Shanta Evans, woke up to eight missed calls from University Hospital. She thought Eugene had spent the previous night on a Fourth of July pizza date with his girlfriend.
Instead, she learned that her son had been transported to the hospital during the night and placed on both a breathing machine and feeding tube to keep him alive.
“I’m hurt — I’m tore apart,” she said. “That’s my first born son, and it just kills me to see him like that. He shouldn’t have to go through this at all. It should’ve never happened.”
Eugene is making a slow recovery and no longer needs the breathing machine, but he struggles to talk and is now paralyzed from the waist down as a result of the attack.
“He has a bullet lodged in his spine that they can’t remove and another bullet that went into his stomach and hit his liver,” Evans said. “I have been spending my nights at the hospital with my son, every day all day."
The situation is a trying one, but his family can take a little comfort in the fact that a stranger’s tip to a Crime Stoppers hotline resulted in the arrest of a suspect, according to police.
“In this case the community stepped up greatly and provided the information that we needed,” said Detective Daniel Kreider of the Cincinnati Police Department.
The tip pointed to Jyquynn Britten, 22, as a suspect in the attack on Felton. A fugitive apprehension strike team arrested Britten, and he confessed to the crime, authorities said.
Eugene Felton’s recovery will take time. The teenager, who his mother said loved sports and dreams of being a social worker, will face a regimen of physical therapy to treat his injuries. Evans said her son could eventually regain the use of his legs, but nothing is certain right now.
Whatever the future holds, she is grateful for the person who called police.
“I’m tired of people talking about, ‘You’re a snitch,'” she said. “If it was one of your family members, one of your children, your mother or father, you’d want the same thing.”
Kreider said that anonymous tips from Cincinnatians have become more common in recent years.
“They’re sick of the violence,” he said. “They realize that, you know what, they’re not snitching in this thing. They’re helping save other lives. They’re helping save quality of live and potentially life itself."