COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — What was supposed to be a safe space turned into moments of terror.
That is how some gym goers are thinking of Tuesday’s deadly shooting at a west Columbus gym.
Police said 23-year-old Tabias Cunningham was shot and killed on the basketball court at the Esporta gym in the Tanglewood Plaza Tuesday night. Police have not named any suspects.
The gym reopened Wednesday, and people there said they are still nervous.
Some members said the gym is now stricter about having bags inside, with gym workers making sure bags were locked in a locker and not just lying around the gym.
Jake Benline said he was shocked to hear about the shooting.
“It’s like we go here to work out and like to focus on ourselves,” Benline said.
Benline and his friend Derek Brown came to work out Wednesday. Brown said he has been going to Esporta for three years, and when he got the shooting news on his phone, he was baffled.
“A shooting at Esporta fitness. This is like the last area I would think of having a shooting at,” Brown said.
Columbus police said the shooting happened just before 9 p.m. Police said when they arrived, they found Cunningham suffering from a gunshot wound. He was taken to Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, where he later died.
The two gym members said they want to know when the violence will stop — not just in Columbus, but everywhere.
“The family yesterday, their son went to the gym, and like, grocery stores, you can’t even shop,” Benline said. “It’s just this world, it’s crazy.”
Police said their response to Tuesday’s shooting was large so they could be prepared for whatever they are walking into.
“Any time we have gun violence at a location that’s got a lot of people in it usually requires a lot of officers because that means we might have multiple victims,” Columbus Police Deputy Chief Tim Myers said. “Might mean we have many witnesses. So, there are usually a lot of officers who respond.”
Police have not released any other information about the investigation.
Cunningham’s death is the 38th homicide in Columbus so far this year, 10 more that at the same point in 2022, and 12 less than in 2021.
“Certainly, we’ve seen an uptick in just the number of people with guns,” Myers said. “So, disputes that in the past might have resulted in a fistfight are now being resolved with guns. So, I think that is a multipart solution. One, we have to do our job and make it more costly for people to carry guns illegally. And then just people need to do a better job of solving their disputes without violence.”
Police believe that after the shooting, the suspect left the gym through the back door.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Columbus Police Homicide Unit at 614-645-4730.