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'You gotta know how to fight living in Covington': Teen who witnessed shooting describes increase in youth violence

Covington fight video shooting
Posted at 7:58 PM, Apr 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-07 00:15:29-04

COVINGTON, Ky. — Of the four people hospitalized Monday after a shooting in Covington, three were children. One girl, a 14-year-old, was in critical but stable condition after her friend said she was shot in the neck.

Court documents say security footage and cell phone videos of the shooting show multiple people were watching two teen girls fight near W. 17th Street. When others jumped into the fight, 41-year-old Thomas Brown was seen firing shots into the air.

After that, police said video showed another male exchanging gunfire with Brown. Brown was injured in the shooting, along with the 14-year-old, an 11-year-old and a 7-year-old. Police said the 11-year-old is related to Brown.

A girl who witnessed the shooting said her best friend was involved in the fight, noting it became "uncontrollable" as more people jumped in. When she heard gunshots, she said she started to run away.

"I just ran," she said. "I started running immediately.”

Then, she noticed the 14-year-old had been shot in the neck.

“She was going in and out, and I was scared,” the teen said. “I knew she was scared — you have to be scared, you’re 14-years-old and you’re sitting here thinking you’re about to die.”

She said she tried to comfort the girls until paramedics arrived.

“I was like, ‘You’re going to be okay. You’re going to have a lot of stories to tell. You’re going to live through this. Just breathe. Just stay with me,'” she said.

The girl said there is a culture of fighting among teens in Covington.

“You gotta know how to fight living in Covington, and if you don’t know how to fight, you better go get a gun. And that’s what everybody’s been doing,” she said. “We too young to be doing it, but that’s what everybody thinks is okay now.”

Covington police responded to multiple reports of shots fired near the area of the shooting in the following two days.

“The attitude towards violence these days has escalated to a level that I never thought I would see in my career,” said Lt. Col. Brian Valenti, Assistant Chief of Covington Police.

The teen said she is not sure what the solution is.

“You can’t go to every house, knock on every door, confiscate every weapon and talk to every child and tell them they can’t fight,” she said. “They gotta want to help themselves first before they can help the rest of us.”

Brown was arrested after his release from the hospital. The teenager wanted in connection to the shooting turned himself in Wednesday morning. Prosecutors plan to charge the teen as an adult, but because he is still listed in the court system as a juvenile and is also no longer wanted, WCPO is not releasing his name at this time.

Police: Teen charged in shooting that injured 3 children turns himself in
Court docs: Man wounded and charged in shooting that injured 3 children fired first shots into the air