What's driving this week's spike in shootings?

Posted at 2:48 AM, Oct 01, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-01 02:48:28-04

CINCINNATI -- A man was shot in the leg Thursday night in Cincinnati's Villages at Roll Hill neighborhood, the 10th shooting this week.

The recent spike in gun violence might still be motivated by revenge, according to the men of Cincinnati Works' Phoenix program. Chris Gilliam and other volunteers reach out to people stuck in the street life, trying to get them on a different path and often stopping shootings before they happen.

"I witnessed it today in a confrontation that was getting ready to blow up over here," Gilliam said Thursday night in Avondale. "I mean, the anger? These were just teenagers."

Gilliam spent the evening walking Ridgeway Avenue, what some call the diciest block in the neighborhood. Marttaisha Thomas, 4, was shot outside her apartment building there in July.

"We've got people that can't even go to the store, can't even walk the street," Gilliam said. "Kids got to go in at a certain time before the shooting starts. That's like having your own community held hostage."

Gilliam knows firsthand the dead-end a life of crime brings; his grandmother's death was a wake-up call.

"I was a kid that was expected to do great things, and at 17 years old, I'm getting ready to go to the penitentiary now for 15 to 30," he said. "She dies, and now I never got a chance to give back to her -- all the times she took care of me, and I'm standing at her coffin at her funeral shackled up, and you've got to evaluate your life."

Thursday night's shooting victim was taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center and is expected to survive.

There could have been more gunshots, Gilliam said, because people don't know how to deal with one another and talk out their fights.

"If we don't start dialoguing and start coming to the table and trying to figure out, what's the resolution? What do you need? What can we do to help you? That's what we have to do, and they have to be honest about it," he said.