COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Southpark Apartments in Franklinton have been on the city’s radar for years following violent incidents, and now the alarm is sounding again after two separate shootings in less than a week.
City Attorney Zach Klein filed a lawsuit in August against the complex owners saying to either fix the problem or there will be consequences. Now, Klein said he will be meeting with the owners in person this month to push for safety improvements.
“It’s terrifying, and disturbing,” said Klein.
Three women were shot at Canonby Place on Saturday while holding a vigil. They are expected to survive. But then, a 13-year-old was shot on Wednesday night. Police are still searching for the person responsible, who they believe was driving a red sedan. The boy was rushed into surgery at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and he is expected to survive.
Columbus police said so far this year there have been 14 shootings on Canonby Place. City leaders say this violence dates back a decade.
Klein said, since filing the lawsuit in August, the owners have been cooperative.
“We’ve already sued them. We have a game plan in place that involves adding more security, adding more lighting and giving CPD access to the close circuit television putting in license plate readers,” said Klein.
He said those plans have all been in place for months now. However, with the recent string of violence, his team plans to discuss creative ways to fix the problem at this upcoming meeting and with city leaders.
“Should we add ShotSpotter, should we add the cities on cameras? Should we be thinking creatively about changing city code because south park and Wedgewood for example, are very near schools and there’s already a federal prohibition for guns in the school zones. Should we create a city law that mirrors, federal law, that prohibits guns within school zones,” Klein said.
NBC4 has reported at least seven shootings at Wedgewood this year, and one was fatal. The city installed ShotSpotter in the neighborhood last month. NBC4 reached out to the Department of Public Safety to see if installing ShotSpotter to the area is a possibility.
“Canonby Place is not in geographic proximity to any of our current ShotSpotter areas. At this time, there is no plan to extend the service to that area,” said Glenn McEntyre with the Department of Public Safety.
As for safety measures, the department said the city plans to have “Operation Burnout” and safe streets deployed throughout the city. Klein said, in order to fix this problem, residents at Southpark need to be a part of the solution too.
“We as a city can do a lot and should do a lot and will do a lot, but we need the people to invest in themselves too,” Klein said.