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Community gathered for vigil held for teen murdered in Kenwood hotel

Posted at 11:33 PM, Nov 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-02 23:52:41-04

CINCINNATI — After two people were killed and another wounded in a shooting after what police said was an attempted robbery inside a Kenwood hotel, community members gathered to mourn Ja'Quan Howard, a 15-year-old shot to death in the incident.

On Saturday, Howard's family, friends and members of the community gathered amidst candles and blue and white balloons to commemorate the teen who would have turned 16 on November 6.

"All around good kid," said Howard's uncle, Shawn Clark. "A smart, intelligent kid. He had a passion for fashion -- loved to dress nice."

Howard's sense of style and ready, big smile are some of the things Clark said he remembers best.

The Hamilton County Sheriff's office said Howard and 20-year-old Taymar Jones were both shot to death in a room at the Hampton Inn in Kenwood Friday night. An 18-year-old was also shot in the foot in the hotel room, and was treated and released from the hospital, police said. According to officials, 10 to 12 people were in the room when the shooting happened, but all fled from the scene.

"Just got caught up hanging in the wrong area, wrong crowd, wrong place, wrong time," said Clark. "Senseless violence. Guns are too accessible in the community. We're losing babies -- 14, 15 years old."

Clark and other members of Howard's family said they are leaning on their faith and one another for support, and pointed to the large crowd gathered at the vigil as a testament to the impact Howard had on those close to him.

"He was loved," said Clark. "Not only was he loved but he showed a lot of love. I think that's why he's got the outcome that he's gotten tonight."

The family said they plan to commemorate Howard on his 16th birthday with another vigil.