CINCINNATI — A 3-year-old boy was enjoying a family barbecue when he and four others were shot in a spray of bullets Monday night, starting the worst night of gun violence in a year marked by senseless shootings.
A neighbor recalled those terrifying moments.
"All we heard was pow, pow, pow, pow, pow," Lanita Phelps told WCPO Tuesday as she stood on Hewitt Avenue in Evanston. That's where the shooting happened about 8:30 p.m.
According to police, people in a small foreign car - black or dark green - fired on a crowd on the sidewalk and the steps to the building. She said the crowd scattered for cover as the mother searched frantically for her son.
"The boy was right there," Phelps said, pointing to the spot. "She opened the door, picked the baby up, got in the car. This time the three or four other people shot, they all got in cars and that was it."
By the end of the night, there were three more shootings - one man was dead, and two more were wounded – for a total of eight people shot.
Police are still looking for the gunmen – the barbecue shooting was said to be gang-related - and the community is still reeling in shock and anger.
"It's a senseless act," Interim Police Chief Eliot Isaac said of shooting a child. "Anyone who would do such a thing is senseless ... I don't know any other way to describe it."
The child was struck in the leg and was recovering at Cincinnati Children's Hospital on Tuesday.
Pastor Peterson Mingo had just passed the barbecue on his way home.
"When something like this happens, the whole community should be alarmed. The whole community needs to come up and speak out loud about it," Mingo said.
One of the wounded, 30-year-old Lydell Lewis, was said to have serious injuries. The others - Khalid Muhammad, 30; Mekehale Lamb, 30; and Terrance Upshaw, 27 – will be OK. Isaac said it was unclear how the victims knew each other.
The four shootings happened within a five-hour period.
About 1:20 a.m. Tuesday, officers found a man dead in the driveway of the Blue Fountain Apartments on Cedar Avenue in College Hill. Police said the victim, 30-year-old Marcus Lampson, lived in the complex. Lampson was shot during a robbery, according to the police report.
Earlier, a man was wounded in the West End followed by another shooting in Walnut Hills.
About 10:30 p.m. Monday, a man was shot in both legs near Linn and Livington streets in the West End. The victim was conscious when police arrived and was transported to UC Medical Center.
The shooter was described as a man in his 30s.
At 11:45 p.m., officers were called to Kemper Lane near Windsor Avenue in Walnut Hills and found a man shot in the chest. That shooting was the result of an argument between the man and someone he knew, police said.
The victim was in stable condition.
Dennis Tarter, who lives near the fatal shooting in College Hill, said you just never know where it will happen.
"Hopefully it's isolated," Tarter said. "There's plenty of police presence around here up and down here all the time. They seem to do a good job. If we need them, they're here.
"Other than that, I don't know. It just happens."
Cincinnati police ask anyone with information about any of these shootings to call Crime Stoppers at 513-352-3040.