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Neighborhoods facing gun violence plead for peaceful weekend

CINCINNATI — Focus turned to two of Cincinnati’s deadliest neighborhoods on Friday — Avondale and Westwood — where residents there were pleading for a weekend with no gun violence.

“I cannot stand to see this happening to our families,” said Mitch Morris.

Morris gathered neighbors to discuss setbacks and opportunities in Avondale Friday night. It is ranked second for the most homicides in Cincinnati over the past four years, according to Cincinnati police data. Records show 26 people have been killed in the neighborhood since 2017.

“We’ve been out there doing outreach for the last two days up there,” said Morris “We met a lady that said her and her group in the nursing home at the end, they don't like to walk down to Family Dollar. They're scared to walk down to Family Dollar.”

That’s where his non-profit, Cincinnati Works Phoenix Program joined city leaders, police, fire and paramedics to discuss safety strategies.

Families still desperate for answers

In Westwood, a mother held a vigil Friday night for her son, Ronald Rousseau.

Police have still not solved his homicide case from 2017. He died after someone shot him on McKinley Ave.

"You don't just hurt that person, you hurt the whole family,” said his mother Twannette Rousseau.

The family scheduled a balloon release at 7:00 PM Friday to bring attention to his case.

“This cancer got to go,” said Morris. “I’ve seen so much pain with so many mothers unsolved homicides.

By the numbers

Cincinnati has had 55 homicides so far this year, police say. That’s the second highest in the past four years.

From January to Aug. 20, 2020, there were 67 homicides, records show. In that same time period of 2019 and 2018, there were 50.
Police say in 2017, there were 49 in that time period.

There have been seven homicides in Avondale so far in 2021, police say. The ages of those killed range from six-months-old to 46-years-old.

In Westwood, records show five homicides so far in 2021 from a two-month-old to a 51-year-old.

Police say some of the youngest victims of shootings in these two spots were children caught in the line of fire. One the other hand, judges say the number of teens accused of murder is high this year.

Drawing children away from guns is a major topic in the latest round of rallies.

“It's not to be tolerated,” said Morris.

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