COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther and Columbus Chief of Police Thomas Quinlan addressed violence in the city after the deaths of three people, including a 15-year-old boy, over the weekend.
Ginther was clear at the briefing Monday — he wants to see what he considers common sense gun laws passed, referring to illegal guns on Columbus’ streets as public enemy number one.
This comes on the heels of a violent weekend in the city in which there were eight shootings where 10 people were shot. The three people who died were all under the age of 26.
Ginther said he recognized a lot of people are hurting right now, but at the same time, he said it rests with each and every one of us to slow this violent trend.
Ginther called on state and federal lawmakers to either enact stronger gun safety laws or let he and the other city leaders do it themselves.
“All I’m asking them to do is get out of our way,” he said. “If they don’t have the guts to take on the NRA, we will because we believe these are common-sense things that overwhelming numbers of people support and we know it would save lives because the proliferation of illegal guns is literally killing children in the city of Columbus and in cities across America and we have to take action.”
Ginther said these victims are not numbers — they are family members and members of the community, and calls on the community to work together to end this crime.
“It isn’t unique to Columbus,” he said. “We know that shootings and violence are up around the country, but I’m not and you and I aren’t responsible for communities around the country, we are responsible for this community, for our neighbors and the neighborhoods in Columbus.”
Investigators are having a hard time solving the weekend’s crimes.
Quinlan asked anyone with information on any of the weekend’s shootings to come forward.
“There are people who were present, people who have answers for us and declined to give any information and that’s very worrisome,” he said. “One, you can’t get the person off the street without the information. Two, it worries us about retaliations, as well.”
Police said 15-year-old Marcus Peters was shot at approximately 9 p.m. Saturday on the 2200 block of Gerbert Road. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to Columbus Police, 25-year-old Robert Thomas was killed after being shot multiple times Saturday night at approximately 11:25 p.m. near the 1100 block of McCarley Drive East.
Dariene Smith, 23, died after she and two others were shot near Spruce and School streets overnight Saturday. Smith and another victim drove themselves to the hospital, where Smith later died from her injuries.
Anyone with information on these crimes or others in the city is urged to call the Columbus Police Homicide Unit at (614) 645-4730 or Central Ohio Crime Stoppers at (614) 461-TIPS (8477).