COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – In the year since Makenzi Ridley was fatally shot at a Far East Side park just days after she graduated from high school, who killed the 17-year-old remains a mystery.

“It doesn’t make the pain any less,” said Ridley’s mother, Seneca Ridley-Turner. “It pisses me off more actually because I feel like nothing’s been done. So, I’m upset in that way. I miss her deeply.”

Ridley, a Northland High School graduate who planned on attending Wilberforce University, was shot a year ago Friday at a park near the Far East Side Community Center, where an evening with fellow teenagers started with fun but ended in violence. 

Columbus police records show the first call to 911 came in just after 7 p.m. and reported a large group of teens with some threatening to open fire. The first calls of someone being shot came in around 8:45. Police Chief Elaine Bryant, who started on the job that same day, came to the scene.

“Today is a grim reminder to me of what this job means and this badge means,” she said. “This hit me hard. Makenzi, this young lady, was doing what all young people should be doing, enjoying her summer.”

In January, police released surveillance footage, with investigators saying it showed two suspects running from the scene. One appeared to have dropped a gun but then picked it back up.

It’s unknown why the release of the video took so long. Bryant’s office declined an invitation for her to be interviewed for this story.

“I asked the same question,” Ridley-Turner said. “I asked the detective on the case, ‘Why did it take so long to release the video?’ The reply was they had to get approval. I said, ‘I know it didn’t take this long to get approval.’

“I’m not going to badmouth them. I think that they have a job to do and they have to take certain steps to do their job, but I will say I do not feel the sense of urgency. We understand that the police are inundated with lots of homicides; they can’t just focus on Makenzi. We understand that”

But the desire for answers from her and Ridley’s father, Chauncey Cumberlander, remains. The family has even hired a private investigator.

“Sometimes you say don’t be at the wrong place at the wrong time. I don’t even think that was the case because they were at a rec center,” Cumberlander said. “They were out here having fun. … It would behoove the city, the community, everyone to get this thing resolved, because it’s not going away.

“We care too much about our child, the community cares too much.”

Ridley’s memory is being honored through a scholarship program called Orange Hearts for Makenzi. The first group of winners will be honored at a private event Saturday. The first set of winners were:

  • Monty Mitchel
  • Emani Anthony
  • Reanna Fields
  • Shantaira Duncan
  • Christopher Blueitt
  • Thierno Welle
  • Patience Hill
  • Kamakshi Velamuri 

To learn more about the scholarship program or to become involved in it, follow this link.