A 15-year-old is dead after more than a month of controversial efforts from the Cincinnati Police Department and city leaders aimed at reducing gun violence on Over-the-Rhine’s Main Street.
On Sept. 20, investigators announced the arrest of a 14-year-old boy for the shooting death of 15-year-old Shawn Lewis near OTR's entertainment area. CityBeat is not publishing the name of the arrested teenager because he is a minor. CPD says the investigation into the shooting is still ongoing.
The alleged incident happened Sept. 16. Around 10 p.m. that day, officers patrolling the area ran toward the intersection of Orchard and Main streets after hearing gunshots, according to a news release from the police. Officers found Lewis suffering from a gunshot wound at 200 Orchard Street. Lewis was transported to Cincinnati Children’s hospital where he later died from his injuries, according to CPD.
The shooting happened a short block away from Main Street’s entertainment district. The drag of popular bars and boutiques has seen sweeping changes from the city after an Aug. 7 shooting left nine people hospitalized and two arrested:
- No parking on Main Street during Friday and Saturday evenings
- Metal barricades on sidewalks meant to prevent large crowds from socializing Increased police presence patrolling the area at night
- Stricter enforcement of illegal food and alcohol sales by street vendors
- City vehicles blocking certain roads in order to control traffic
- Increased lighting in public spaces
CityBeat asked officials Sept. 20 why the city’s changes to Main Street did not prevent the shooting death of Lewis. The city manager’s office responded with this statement:
“Our hearts go out to the deceased’s loved ones following this tragic loss of young life. It is something no family should have to endure and underscores the urgent need for action on the universal accessibility of guns. We as a City continue to work towards investing our resources to keep residents safe while disrupting the pathways to gun violence in all our communities.”
“I’m not at all surprised,” she said. “In fact, everyone I know around here said it would be pointless. Those specific measures wouldn’t help. They were going after the symptoms rather than the cause, which is systemic social issues. The parking thing in particular – I couldn’t wrap my head around that.”
At CityBeat's request, the Cincinnati Police Department has provided documents related to the shooting but has not commented specifically about the ongoing efforts to reduce gun violence on Main Street, an area where bartenders have voiced concern for their own safety and mental well-being after experiencing repeated public shootings in recent years.
On Sept. 20, four days after the shooting death of Lewis, Cincinnati mayor Aftab Pureval’s office announced an upcoming event for families of shooting victims.
The Gun Violence Memorial Project, in collaboration with Everytown For Gun Safety, will host a “Remembrance Object Collection” event on Sept. 23 and 24. The city is inviting people who have lost a family member or loved one to gun violence to take part by contributing a remembrance object to honor loved ones.
The first memorial will be held at the Lincoln Recreation Center in West End from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The second memorial will be at the Hirsch Recreation Center in Avondale from noon to 4 p.m.
Stay connected with CityBeat. Subscribe to our newsletters, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google News, Apple News and Reddit.