COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Columbus police are continuing to investigate two fatal shootings at two city parks Saturday evening.
On Sunday, a soccer league that meets in Nafzger Park on Noe Bixby Road every weekend was back on the field.
Players and spectators were also at the park Saturday evening around 6:10 p.m. when one man was shot dead. They said the shots that rang out from the other side of the park created a panic.
Alejandro Mercado-Camacho was at the park with his 5-year-old and 3-year-old children watching his wife play soccer. He said after people heard the shooting, some started running while others laid down on the ground.
“It was just terrifying,” he said. “People running around, lying down on the grass and lots of panic, I could say.”
Mercado-Camacho and others at the park said they want the southeast area of the city, where the park is located, to be safer because they do not want to have to worry about doing what they love, especially at a park.
“It’s definitely not going to be the same,” Mercado-Camacho said. “We’re going to have our eyes watching out every time, but still, like I said, we have to practice some sports and this is a park where we can practice that sport.”
Julay Amaya is a coach who was also at the park during Saturday’s shooting. She said they’re not seeing as many players because of fears of violence.
“It is too dangerous for the people to come here to just play, have some fun, do some sports, that they don’t feel safe anymore,” Amaya said.
The second fatal shooting Saturday took place about 11 miles away at Saunders Park near Mount Vernon Avenue. That park was quiet Sunday afternoon.
“We are looking at all the parks in the city,” said Columbus Division of Police Watch Commander Lt. Larry Yates. “Because it just happened to be those two parks, Crime can happen anywhere, so we want to make sure we have our officers going to all the parks.”
Police said there are no suspects in either shooting. Officers, both uniformed and plainclothed, will be patrolling the city’s parks more until further notice, police said.
“Safety is our first priority,” Yates said. “We want to make sure the people going out to enjoy themselves at our parks leave the parks safely.”
Anyone with any information on either shooting is asked to contact Columbus police at 614-645-4545.