CINCINNATI — When Megan Seard heard nine people were shot on Main Street early Sunday morning, she was shocked.
“I’m a new mother and I do rest my head down here, so it’s definitely something that is kind of shocking and throws you back for a moment but you know but like I said you can’t let fear stop you from living your life,” she said.
Seard is the general manager at Aladdin’s Eatery. She moved from Indiana to live and work in the area because of the energy.
“Main Street just had this vibe and this energy about it that pulled me in and literally spoke to me and told me this is where you need to be," Seard said. "So I made that decision and uprooted my life and moved here so I’m fully invested."
She adds Main Street isn’t as dangerous as people think and hopes the shooting doesn’t deter people from coming to the area.
“I don’t want people to be forced inside the house or trying to stay away and thinking it’s not safe down here, you know, we all really do care and we want to make sure that we’re creating environments for people to have a good time,” she said.
Seard said she has talked with several business owners about what’s happening in the area and said people need to work together with the neighborhood to put safety measures in place so they can respond quickly.
“Some residents are just tired of the violence,” said Derrick Rogers with the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio.
The Urban League passed out flyers Monday to encourage people to have hope.
“Gun violence can spring out anywhere that’s why all citizens need to work collaboratively to bring about change,” Rogers said.
Rogers said it was shocking to hear there was a mass shooting in the area, but noted gun violence isn't just a problem in Over-the-Rhine, but it’s an issue all over Cincinnati.
Blake Kochensparger moved to Main Street in April and plans to move to Oakley soon.
“Living in OTR was really great it seemed like it was a lot more quiet, but past recent events, I feel like it’s getting more and more rowdy on the weekends and it’s gotten to the point where my friends have stopped visiting around the area and I really just don’t want to go out anymore,” Kochensparger said.
He said the streets can get crowded on weekend nights.
“On the weekends generally during the day I feel like it’s perfectly fine, but ... when it gets around nighttime it just seems like it really gets congested and crowded,” he said.
Kochensparger is not alone in wanting to leave the area, but some like Seard are determined to create a positive change in her community and have no intentions to leave the area.
“We’re not in a position to operate out of fear right now. It’s a time to be more loving and compassionate and rather than shut down and go inside and find your way into a hole," Seard said. "It’s more about pulling together and being there for one another."
In an emailed statement, Cincy Shirts owner Darin Overholser said he hopes the violence comes to an end.
“I don't know how police can predict these events, or what can be put in place to stop it," said Overholser. "It sounds like the police reacted as quickly as possible, so that was comforting knowing we are in good hands. I do know more guns is not the answer.”