Police investigating Ohio park shooting that left teen dead

May 24, 2021 GMT

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Police in Ohio’s capital city are investigating a shooting in a downtown park Saturday that left a 16-year-old girl dead and five other teenagers and young adults wounded.

“We know Columbus is not the only city seeing an increasing spike in violent crime,” Mayor Andrew Ginther said at a briefing Monday. “Far too often these tragedies involve youth as both victims and assailants.”

The Columbus shooting took place just hours before three people were killed and three others were wounded outside a bar in Youngstown, in northeast Ohio. Officials say the Columbus shooting was the city’s 77th homicide of the year.

The incident began after police received reports of a private event promoted on social media that was being held in Bicentennial Park on Saturday night.

Initially, nine 911 calls were made to report loud noises and music coming from the park, Interim Police Chief Michael Woods said at the briefing. As an officer was responding to the disturbance calls, a number of calls came in about gunfire being heard from the area shortly before midnight.

When officers arrived at the scene, they found six victims at the scene. One of those victims, 16-year-old Olivia Kurtz, was taken to Grant Hospital where she was pronounced dead after 1 a.m. Sunday.

A 16-year-old boy was taken to Ohio State University and had surgery for a gunshot wound. A 15-year-old girl was taken to Children’s Hospital. Two 19-year-old women and a 19-year-old man were also shot. Police said all are expected to recover. Two other victims sustained minor injuries as they fled.

Ginther said the city is working with its partners to reduce the wave of gun violence the city has seen over the past year.

The park, which is located in the heart of downtown, usually has security cameras, but they were not working at the time of the shooting, Ginther said. He added, “We take responsibility for that and we’re fixing that immediately.”

No arrests have been made and investigators are asking anyone who was at the event or has photos from it to contact them.