These are the top 9 stories of the year

Posted at 7:00 AM, Dec 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-30 07:00:44-05

CINCINNATI – It’s been a rough year, Cincinnati.

We saw more than our share of tragedies in 2015, and our top stories of the year reflect that. Based on the number of times they were clicked, these are the 9 most read stories of 2015:

9) The death of Cincinnati Police Officer Sonny Kim

Trepierre Hummons, 21, called 911 on himself twice before engaging in a shootout that left himself and Cincinnati Police Officer Sonny Kim dead on June 19, police said.

Hummons reported a man “walking around, getting belligerent with a gun” to 911 dispatchers. Kim, a 27-year veteran of the force, was the first officer to arrive on the scene.

Hummons’ mother was trying to defuse the situation when Hummons shot Kim three times. One of the bullets passed through ribbing in Kim’s body armor, according to Prosecutor Joe Deters.

Deters called the wound “non-survivable.”

"He was going to kill as many cops as he could...If he had 50 guns, he would have emptied every gun he had at responding officers," the prosecutor said.

Kim, 48, was a husband and father of three boys. He first joined the Cincinnati Police Department in 1987 and received 22 commendations during his decorated career. Additionally, he was the owner and main karate instructor at Karate-Do dojo in Symmes Township, where his former students have continued to honor him.

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8) Woman attacked, video posted on Facebook

A fight broke out over a car, and it was caught on camera. Thousands of people watched the video, which spread on Facebook. It showed a 19-year-old woman being slapped and written on.

Cheyanne Willis said she was beaten up, threatened and humiliated in the attack by her ex-boyfriend and several women. She was bruised and suffered a concussion, but she said the emotional scars were worse.

On the other hand, Cheyenne Fisher said Willis swung first, before the video recording started.

Both agreed that Willis had Fisher’s car – Willis said she had made a down payment to buy it – and Fisher wanted it back. Willis said she was meeting Fisher to return the car. Fisher said she had been texting Willis for a month requesting its return.

Either way, the video shows Fisher and others slapping Willis, cutting her hair and writing “I got my --- whooped” on her forehead in eyeliner.

Nothing has been filed in court for the case since January.

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7) Lauren Hill closeup: Tears, laughs from a hero dying young

Even as Lauren Hill’s fight with a terminal cancer called DIPG put her in Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, she wanted to spread awareness to a national audience.

Tanya O' Rourke (left) with Lauren Hill and her mother, Lisa Hill

Less than a month before she died, Lauren was still determined. She agreed to appear in March on ABC’s The View via a satellite interview, facilitated at the hospital with WCPO.

“With this disease, there’s nothing they can do and I just keep thinking about all these other kids that have nothing else to do to and their families being told there is nothing else to do to save their child," she said. "And I have to be their voice.”

Lauren succeeded in being their voice and spreading the message about the need for a cure for DIPG, a rare form of brain cancer most people hadn’t heard of before she reached the national spotlight.

During her battle with cancer, Lauren helped raise more than $1.5 million, and her family, friends and other supporters have continued raising money and awareness.

Click here to donate online to the Lauren Hill tribute fund at The Cure Starts Now.

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6) Elevator footage shows off-duty officer fumble gun before shooting himself

Elevator security camera footage released in January shows a Northern Kentucky police officer fumbling with his work-issued firearm moments before shooting himself in the stomach.

In video released by Cincinnati police, off-duty Erlanger cop Darryl Jouett is seen entering an elevator at the Mercer Commons Parking Garage in Over-The-Rhine at about 8:30 p.m. Friday night after having dinner with his wife.

Darryl Jouett

When the elevators' doors closed, Jouett pulled his .40 caliber semiautomatic handgun out of its holster and appeared to try and re-holster it.

Jouett almost dropped the weapon when it became tangled in his coat. The gun fired into the elevator door as he tried to catch it.

A bullet then ricocheted and hits Jouett in the stomach, according to Capt. Mike John, District 1 Commander for the Cincinnati Police Department.

In the footage, Jouett crumpled to the ground. His wife pulled out her cellphone as she exited the elevator and then re-entered. Jouett was eventually able to leave the elevator with his wife’s assistance.

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5) Hopple Street overpass collapses, construction worker killed

A tractor-trailer was driving under the old northbound off-ramp to Hopple Street when the overpass crashed down onto the interstate’s southbound lanes in January.

Construction worker Brandon Carl was on the overpass when the collapse happened. Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Lakshmi K. Sammarco said the 35-year-old died of blunt force trauma to the head, torso and extremities.

The tractor-trailer driver was taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center to be treated for minor injuries.

The collapse closed the interstate for more than 23 hours.

Kokosing Construction Company, Inc. later said an internal investigation indicated an "engineering mistake" may have been a contributing factor to the collapse.

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4) College Hill woman accused of decapitating 3-month-old

Documents show a College Hill woman accused of beheading her infant child was suffering from post-partum psychosis and was "speaking with demons."

Deasia Watkins

Deasia Watkins, 20, was charged in March with aggravated murder in connection with the death of 3-month-old Janiyah Watkins, according to police.

"There were multiple stab wounds to the right side of the (baby's) face and head," Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco said. "(The baby had) a fractured right arm... and the head was severed from the body."

Sammarco added, "It was a pretty horrific sight."

The court case is ongoing.

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3) Lawsuit: Purina Beneful dog food may be killing dogs

A lawsuit filed this year claims Purina’s popular Beneful brand is hurting and killing pets.

More than 3,000 online complaints have been filed by dog-owners claiming Purina Petcare Beneful’s dry “kibble” variety is killing and hurting dogs, according to the class action lawsuit filed Feb. 5 in federal court.

The brand is still on store shelves in the Tri-State and has not been recalled.

Purina insists it's still healthy and safe for pets.

Purina is responding to the complaints and the class action lawsuit with a Facebook video and ad campaign featuring Purina Vice President Julie Plassmeyer and her dog.

"These allegations are simply not true. We remain confident in Beneful and it's product quality," she said in the video.

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2) FBI says John Boehner's West Chester bartender planned to poison him

Ebola, evil voices and the devil.

Those are just a few of the things a Butler County bartender cited as reasons he was going to kill then-House Speaker John Boehner last year, federal agents said.

Michael Robert Hoyt, 44, was indicted Jan. 7 on charges of threatening to murder the congressman in a plot police said included poisoning his drink at a country club.

Hoyt served drinks to Boehner for more than five years at the Wetherington Country Club in West Chester and was known as “Bartender Mike” to employees there.

Hoyt called police on Oct. 29, 2014, a week after being fired from the club, and blamed Boehner for his woes, police said.

When officers visited Hoyt at his home on Matson Avenue in Deer Park, they said the plot thickened.

“Hoyt told the officer he was Jesus Christ and he was going to kill Boehner because Boehner was mean to him at the country club and because Boehner is responsible for Ebola,” United States Capitol Police (USCP) Special Agent Christopher M. Desrosiers said. “Hoyt advised he had a loaded Beretta .380 automatic and he was going to shoot Boehner and take off.”

Officers said Hoyt told them he regretted not having enough time to put something in Boehner’s drink. It was also discovered Hoyt emailed Boehner’s wife about the plot a day before he called police, Desrosiers said.

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1) Body cam video released in Sam DuBose shooting

Former UC police officer Ray Tensing's body camera video shows that he committed "without question, a murder" when he shot and killed an unarmed black motorist at a traffic stop, prosecutor Joe Deters said July 29.

Deters said the video refutes Tensing's claim that 43-year-old Sam DuBose pulled away from the stop and dragged Tensing with his car July 19 in Mount Auburn. Instead, it shows Tensing reach through the driver's window and shoot DuBose - point-blank - in the head.

The shocking video shows Tensing standing outside the driver's door with DuBose at the wheel. The two men talk calmly and politely for about one minute and 50 seconds. But in the next five seconds, the encounter turns deadly.

Tensing repeatedly asks DuBose to produce a driver's license. DuBose says he has a license but he doesn't have it with him, and he apologizes.

Former University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing enters Hamilton County Common Pleas Court to be arraigned on murder charges July 30, 2014

Showing the video publicly for the first time, Deters called it an "asinine, senseless shooting" and announced that a grand jury had indicted Tensing for murder and involuntary manslaughter. Tensing turned himself in and UC fired him after the indictment.

DuBose did "nothing violent" toward Tensing, Deters said, adding that the video shows Tensing falling because he had just shot DuBose.

"I think (Tensing) lost his temper because Mr. DuBose would not get out of his car. He wasn't dragged. When you see it, you will not believe how quickly he pulled his gun and shot him in the head," Deters said at a news conference.

"It was senseless. It didn't have to happen," Deters said, adding that Tensing should have never stopped DuBose for not having a front license plate.

"It was a chicken-crap stop," he said.

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