CINCINNATI — The crosswalk where 16-year-old Galevon Beauchamp fell was a crime scene on Monday night. It was a memorial by the same time Thursday.
“You rush to why,” said Pastor Ennis Tait, whose home neighborhood of Avondale has seen multiple shootings that injured or killed children since June began. “That's the first question. What happened? How many more of these are we going to have to deal with? Then we have to take responsibility. What could we have done in order to prevent it?"
Beauchamp had been shot using the Reading Road crosswalk around 7:30 p.m., according to police. Police found shell casings on adjoining Forest Avenue but no suspect.
The teen, whom friends described as a happy boy with a positive presence, died at Children’s Hospital on Thursday morning. Mourners lit devotional candles on the sidewalk and tied balloons to the fence of a nearby strip mall parking lot.
“That could've been a kid that could have built the next Empire State Building,” said Yoshua King, who lives in Avondale. “Construct a route for his other peers to get ahead."
Violence of this kind is frequent enough in Avondale to be predictable, Tait said. He and other anti-violence advocates have noted an increase in shootings over the summer months and a corresponding rise in the likelihood that victims will be young.
He’s tired of it, he said Thursday. He’s been tired of it. So have his neighbors and allies in the effort to make Avondale safer.
“(We’re) a team that's losing,” he said. “What can we do different? And do we have it in us to win. I think this is the turning point that we do have it in us to win. Let's sit down and recalibrate, figure out where our strengths are, build on those strengths."
The strategy Tait reckons as the most effective is also the one that’s likely to take longest: Building relationships in the community, showing love and restoring the hope of people who live there.
“(We have) to remind them that in spite of all that’s happening, in spite of the current state of our community and neighborhood, there’s still hope,” he said.
Beauchamp's mother started a GoFundMe to help pay for the cost of her son's funeral.