CINCINNATI — The Fourth of July shooting is the only deadly crime that’s occurred in Smale Park in the past four years, according to Cincinnati Police records.
Frequenters of the park said Smale Park is sometimes known as a party spot for small groups after hours.
“There’s groups of kids here. It’s just unfortunate that some kids live that lifestyle,” park visitor Brandon Lane said.
He was in the park Sunday night when the fatal shooting happened.
“I heard some pops after the fireworks and I see everybody look towards this direction,” Lane said, indicating the direction of the shooting.
In the past six months, Cincinnati police documented close to 90 calls for service to Smale Park and around 150 in 2020. The calls ranged from trespassing to reports of an armed person in the park.
Within those, records show only six criminal cases in the past four years -- none of which have happened in the last six months. Four cases involved theft and two were other minor cases.
“I think the city should beef up security here if that’s going to occur,” park visitor Quay Reed said.
Families filled the park the day after the fatal shooting, with everyone enjoying the riverfront.
“Where we are at right now was recommended that we come. That’s how we got to be in this spot right here,” Jackie Greer said.
The Cincinnati Police Department increased patrols in 2019 after a shooting near the restaurants on The Banks. Authorities bike through the park each hour after the 11 p.m. closing time, warning people to leave.
“You’ll see them out here pretty late, too,” Lane said of the teenagers he said he's seen gathered in the park. “Like I said, I try to mind my own business. I don’t get into it, but they definitely group up here for sure."