MIDDLETOWN, Ohio -- To those concerned by Middletown’s most recent spate of shootings, Police Chief Rodney Muterspaw offered these words of reassurance Friday night:
“Hang tight. Peace is coming."
Muterspaw bundled up and joined other community leaders, including vice mayor Dora Bronston, as well as ordinary Middletonians for a peace march around the Middletown City Hall. The event, which was organized by local pastors, was intended to help the community express itself in a civil, productive way.
On Nov. 22, three shootings rocked Middletown within hours of one another: one in the parking lot of the Third Base Saloon, one on Park Street and another on Brown Street. The first two shootings, Middletown Assitant Police Chief Mark Hoffman said, were likely related to one another, and 23-year-old DaQuan Barefield was arrested for the Third Base shooting Nov. 30.
Stopping violence in the community means more than marching and talking, according to Bronston. It also means connecting with the people at the center of it. She visited Barefield in jail after his arrest.
"I wanted to see the spirit of the person, to find out whether he had encouragement before," she said. “And to see him eye-to-eye and let him know that somebody cared."
Bronston said she planned to continue making similar visits in the future, and her fight to end the gun epidemic would not stop.
“This is a small city,” she said.”We don’t have these kinds of shootings, so we are trying to nip it in the bud and take a stand."