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Fifth Third employees return to work for the first time since shooting

Met by crime scene tape, guards and flowers
Posted at 12:45 PM, Sep 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-10 13:00:40-04

CINCINNATI -- Monday morning was anything but typical for people who work at Fifth Third Center and other buildings near Fountain Square.

They were met by yellow crime scene tape at the Walnut Street entrance, where a security guard directed employees to other entrances of the building.

Flowers covered the Tyler Davidson Fountain days after the shooting as well.

John Prell works near Fountain Square. He said he walked through the square about 20 minutes before gunfire erupted Thursday morning.

“Something like this kind of rattles you because it kind of eliminates that sense of security that you have,” Prell said.

Three victims and the shooter died on Thursday, and two more people were injured. The gunman, Omar Santa-Perez, entered the Fifth Third Center lobby around 9 a.m. and opened fire on innocent people, police said. Responding officers shot and killed him.

RELATED: Video shows shooter wreak havoc in Fifth Third Center

Employees returned to Fifth Third Center for the first time since the shooting on Monday, although Fountain Square has been packed with people in recent days for vigils honoring of the victims.

Security guards were present in and around Fifth Third Center Monday as Downtown employees returned to work.

“I try to be cognizant of where I'm walking and people around me -- making sure I'm in well-lit areas and populated areas,” Prell said. “But something like this kind of undoes all of that.”

Phil Haddad said he stops by Fifth Third Center for business about twice a month.

“It's a little surreal coming down after you know, coming down on a fairly regular basis,” he said.

In response to Thursday’s shooting, the Hoxworth Blood Center hosted a mobile blood drive on Fountain Square until 3 p.m. Monday. The donor bus is parked at 500 Vine St. for people wishing to donate.