Ninth Street neighborhood residents say they were starting to feel safer with increased police patrols, but a shooting near their community park has left at least a few of them shaken.
Jimmie Dewayne Hair Jr., 26, was arrested on a preliminary charge of attempted murder in connection with Monday’s shooting that injured a resident at 1228 Eighth St.
Hair, of 1126 California St., is accused of shooting a 20-year-old man in the neck about 9:05 p.m. Monday, said Lt. Matt Myers, Columbus Police Department spokesman.
The victim, who has not been named by police, was listed in stable condition Tuesday afternoon at IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.
A motive in the shooting is unclear, but Myers said police do not believe it was a random act. He said the victim and shooter know each other.
Police arrested Hair shortly after the shooting at a residence in the 1000 block of Ninth Street. He is being held in the Bartholomew County Jail.
“A lot of people in this neighborhood have kids, and we have an 11-month old. So of course it concerns us, especially when it happens right out on the street,” Trish Tasca said. “There is a park nearby, and there are kids there all of the time.”
Tasca lives on Werner Street, just around the corner from where police said the shooting occurred.
The woman said she has lived in the neighborhood for a year and felt police efforts to work closely with residents had helped curb crime.
“The police and the community groups have done a lot, and that has helped, but all it takes is a couple of bad eggs,” Tasca said.
Officers fanned out throughout the neighborhood Tuesday morning looking for the small-caliber handgun used in the shooting. They searched side streets, yards, gutters and trash cans, Myers said. They also searched Ninth Street Park.
Police asked neighborhood residents near the park — about two blocks from where the shooting occurred — to be on the lookout for an unsecured gun that could have been tossed on the ground.
“We don’t know if he discarded the gun or gave it to somebody else or it’s in a house somewhere,” Myers said. “We felt like for public safety we owed it to the citizens in the area to put that out there.”
Myers said stepped-up patrols in the area have helped reduce criminal and questionable activity.
“That Ninth Street Park area is one that we have concentrated on for the last year-and-a-half or so,” Myers said. “Residents were reporting a lot of suspicious activity, and it was a high crime area, so the city put a lot of emphasis in proactive policing and interacting with them.”
Rob Webb, who was at Ninth Street Park on Tuesday with one of his 10 grandchildren, said he also thought police were making progress.
“It seems like they have been trying to get it cleaned up for the last few years,” Webb said. “Of course, it worries you when something like this happens so close to a park where I bring kids.”
Tips lead to arrest
Witnesses told police there were several people near the scene at the time of the incident, but Hair is the only person in custody.
Myers credits residents with coming forward to provide the information that led to Hair’s arrest.
“Within an hour we had a suspect identified and in custody, and that is because of people in that area helping us,” Myers said. “We get a lot of leads from people in the neighborhood who see things and aren’t afraid to let
Myers said police also reviewed video from two cameras installed at Ninth Street Park.
He would not say what information was obtained from the video but said viewing it aided police in arresting the suspect.
“Those cameras did exactly what we wanted them to do,” Myers said.