Authorities said at least 18 people were killed, including four killed, when gunfire broke out in several places around the city at night.
Police said in a statement that officers responded immediately after 12:30 a.m. to the Avondale neighborhood, finding 21-year-old Antonio Blair with gunshot wounds. They said he was taken to the university hospital and died there. Three gunshot victims were also taken to hospital.
At around 2:15 am, police said, officers responded to a report of a shooting in the Over the Rine neighborhood in which 10 people were killed. One died at the scene and the other at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. They were identified in a statement as 34-year-old Robert Rogers and 30-year-old Jackies Grant.
Police said three people were shot dead around midnight in Walnut Hills, a block from the home of Harriet Beecher Stowe.
Media reported that the shooting took place within 60 to 90 minutes of each other, but Assistant Chief Constable Paul Newdigit told reporters that “they seem to be separate incidents, but they are horrific and tragic.”
Police did not immediately provide details about the fourth fatal shooting incident, but confirmed that it occurred in the city’s West End, as reports indicated that a person was later shot and declared dead at the scene.
No suspicious information was immediately available in any of the cases.
“One very violent night in Cincinnati,” Neudigate said before announcing the fourth shooting. “Why? That would be the question.”
The Cincinnati police chief later described the level of violence as “unacceptable.”
“I call upon all the citizens of this great city to say stop!” Leader Elliot Isaac said in a statement, “We must not sit idly by and say that we cannot do anything to end gun violence.” “We all have a moral obligation to stop the violence and stop the killing in our societies.”
Police said the administration will shift officers from other duties to boost the number of uniformed officers in affected communities and will call on federal prosecutors and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives “to focus on frequent shootings and bring in an illegal arms shipment.”
Mayor John Cranley described this as “unreasonable gun violence that has devastated lives and will cause untold suffering” at a time when the city faces “unprecedented conditions and challenges” in fighting crime during the Covid-19 pandemic. The city has seen a spike, he said, with people gathering in private homes and public spaces when bars are closed.
“Guns are very common in these gatherings. Please do not attend rallies because you may become an innocent victim.
He stressed, however, that those who shot were responsible for the shooting – which he called “real attempt or murder” – and pledged to bring them to justice.
“I also call on everyone to help put an end to the culture of personal conflict resolution with guns as well as to reduce the very prevalent availability of illegal weapons on our streets,” he said. “The very sad truth is that people face problems when they have nowhere to go and do nothing.