Dec 9, 2021 - News

Columbus police seek public's aid in solving deaths of young siblings

Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant and Assistant Chief LaShanna Potts are seen at a rally, with Bryant speaking into a microphone.
Columbus police chief Elaine Bryant, left, and assistant chief LaShanna Potts are seen at an anti-violence rally at Columbus City Hall earlier this year. Photo: Stephen Zenner/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Columbus city leaders are asking for the public's help in solving a deadly shooting that left three people dead Tuesday evening, including two young siblings.

Catch up fast: The shooting took place in the parking lot of a southeast Columbus apartment complex near Route 33 and Gender Road.

  • Police say two suspects fired into a car "without any apparent warning or provocation," killing the three occupants: Charles Wade, 22; Demitrius Wall'neal, 9; and Londynn Wall'neal, 6.
  • The siblings were students in the Canal Winchester Local School District, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

Why it matters: These deaths mark the 184th, 185th and 186th homicides reported in 2021, adding to the record total for one year in the city's history.

The latest: At a Wednesday press conference, homicide detective Terry Kelly said the department is "formulating leads and suspects," but has not yet determined a motive.

  • The available evidence at the scene points to this being a "targeted assassination," Kelly said.

What they're saying: Kelly joined Mayor Andrew Ginther, Police Chief Elaine Bryant and Public Safety Director Robert Clark in imploring the public to assist law enforcement with solving the murder.

  • "Someone knows something," Bryant said. "We need the public to be the voices of our victims," Bryant said.
  • "Londynn and Demitrius cannot speak for themselves," Ginther added, condemning the "tragic violence."
  • "This community has people who can speak up for them and bring forward information to get these violent criminals off our streets."

Threat level: Both the mayor and public safety director said residents cannot become desensitized to repeated stories of violence.

  • "It can never be normal for 6- and 9-year-olds to die in this community … we are fighting for the soul of our city," Ginther said.
  • "We need you to not treat this as a normal day in the city of Columbus," said Clarke, who joined city leadership this fall with a goal of reducing the homicide rate.

Separately, a U.S. Marshals deputy was shot and injured while serving a warrant Wednesday morning in another southeast Columbus neighborhood.

  • Officers with the Southern Ohio Fugitive Apprehension Task Force fired back at the shooter, killing him, a U.S. Marshals Service spokesperson told WBNS.
  • The deputy is reportedly in stable condition.
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