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She was shot. He lost his son in a shooting. Now, they're trying to make their neighborhoods safer.

Posted at 7:45 AM, Dec 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-15 14:20:40-05

WCPO partnered with The Cincinnati Herald to explore gun violence in Cincinnati and what is being done to solve the problem.

CINCINNATI — Jennifer Foster doesn’t have to guess what’s happening on the streets of Avondale. She lived it seven years ago.

Foster was an innocent bystander, sitting outside her building when a car pulled up and bullets started flying.

“And I remember seeing the guy come out the sunroof of the car, and when he started shooting, I actually thought that I made it in the house, because the normal reaction being in an area like this is, ‘Run.’ You want to get out of the line of fire,” Foster said.

After Foster was shot, she started to dedicate her time to making her neighborhood safer.

“I wasn’t going to lay down and just say what’s going on with the violence in the community. I’m going to do something about it,” Foster said.

Foster has played a key role in multiple programs designed to improve the quality of life in the neighborhood, and she even joined Avondale’s Community Council. Her most important role, though, might be the motherly figure she embodies in the neighborhood.

“We have to be more active in the community. We have turned a blind eye to a lot of the things that’s going on, and there just needs to be more role models,” Foster said.

While Foster believes she is making progress, William Franklin feels frozen in time.

“Not much has changed, still don’t know anything, still don’t have any answers,” Franklin said.

In July 2019, his 14-year-old son, Cameron Franklin, was shot and killed in Lower Price Hill. No arrests have been made.

Someone shot and killed 14-year-old Cameron Franklin in Lower Price Hill in July 2019. His father, William Franklin, believes there are people who know what happened that night and aren't coming forward.

“It’s been a challenge. You would have thought that kids being at a party would have seen something, but apparently everybody doesn’t know nothing and wasn’t there and that’s the aggravating part,” Franklin said.

In the year and a half since Cameron’s death, Franklin has worked with local activists on a plan to address the uptick in shootings, one that includes more funding for things like after-school programs. But he’s still waiting on something concrete.

“As a city, we’re divided," Franklin said. "Everybody wants to jump when something happens, but nobody wants to do anything preventative."

Franklin said he feels little progress is being made in solving his son’s shooting death.

Meanwhile, deadly shooting cases in Cincinnati have been piling up. As of Tuesday, 82 people have been shot and killed across Cincinnati in 2020, according to Cincinnati police data.

For Franklin, he said he knows someone who was there that night knows what happened to his son. Until they come forward, though, he said he’ll keep fighting for change.

“We can be better as a city with this. We can be the city that decides, ‘Hey, enough’s enough,” Franklin said.

The Cincinnati Herald's Andria Carter contributed to this report.

Watch WCPO's special, "From Gun Violence to Solutions," tonight at 7 p.m.