COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A Hilltop community leader said students at Eakin Elementary School worry each day could be their last after two shooting near the school in two weeks.
An 11-year-old boy was grazed by a bullet at the Wedgewood Village Apartments on May 2. Then, a 12-year-old boy was shot near the school after a fight broke out on Tuesday.
Zerqa Abid, executive director of MY Project USA, said she sat with the 11-year-old victim in the hospital.
“That day when I heard that this kid was shot, he was one of our kids. We went to three different hospitals and eventually I saw him. Eventually, I held his hand. I was relieved that he didn’t lose his life,” Abid said.
Abid works with many children who live in the area, and her organization is one of the community groups receiving funding from the city for youth programming. While she is grateful, she said she needs more financial support.
“I want to be able to provide good food, nutritious food and I want to lure these kids literally just like how the drug dealers in the pimps and other people do. I want to lure them here is the good food here is the movie night because it works,” Abid said.
MY Project USA provides food, after school jobs, activities and more.
“I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining, I’m appreciative, but I am saying that as a mother, as a leader, as a community organizer, as a business owner, I’m telling them this is not enough. We are only touching the tip of the ice. I’m saying if we don’t address it now unfortunately god forbid I am looking into a very bloody summer this year and I’m very worried about it,” Abid said.
Wedgewood residents said to NBC4 they are thankful for the investments the city is trying to make, but they need more attention.
The City of Columbus just activated shotspotter technology at Wedgewood this month, a $45,000 investment. These residents are asking the city to not only make investments at Wedgewood but in other neighborhoods with violence like the Hilltop and Linden.
“We want to ensure that every neighborhood feels safe regardless of where you live in the city. We want everyone to call their neighborhood safe. So we are going to continue to have those investments. You’ll see more officers out on foot this summer and engaging in the community,” said Columbus City Council Member Nick Bankston.
Bankston said they are also making significant investments into lighting at parks and adding more police patrol.