Murder charge dropped in Liberty Twp. shooting that killed recent Fairfield grad

Posted at 1:47 PM, Jun 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-15 20:42:10-04

LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Ohio — A murder charge has been dropped against a Cincinnati man who was initially accused of killing 18-year-old Antaun Hill Jr. on Wednesday night in Liberty Park, The Journal-News reported.

Romel Velasquez, 18, was arrested and charged with murder and two counts of felonious assault within hours of the shooting that Sheriff Richard Jones said began with a previous theft and two groups meeting to fight in the park.

Last week, Jones said Velasquez began firing into the crowd, striking Hill and injuring two others. But further investigation revealed another gun was fired during the incident that happened about 10 p.m., according to sheriff’s office officials.

Zyquon Moody, 18, of Hamilton, and Zyshaun Johnson, 19, of Cincinnati, were shot. Later in the investigation, Moody was also charged with felonious assault for allegedly being a second shooter in the incident.

On Friday, the murder charge was dismissed against Velasquez in Butler County Area II Court. He remains charged with felonious assault, and the investigation is ongoing, according to Chief Deputy Anthony Dwyer.

Hill was a recent graduate of Fairfield High School, where he played football, and he planned to play at Independence Community College in Kansas.

Dwyer said Velasquez initially confessed to being the only shooter, and detectives recovered the gun he allegedly used. But detectives began hearing that a second person may have been firing a weapon, and the investigation continued.

“So we started at square one and began interviewing all the people who were out there and through that arduous task people came forward and said, ‘Yeah, this guy was shooting and had a gun, too,’” Dwyer said.

A second weapon has been recovered.

Velasquez remains charged with two counts of felonious assault and is scheduled to be in court Wednesday for a preliminary hearing.

The Journal-News is WCPO's media partner.