Wednesday, September 13, 2000

Several witness shooting death

Homeless man killed

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — A homeless man lay dying early Tuesday as a friend cradled his body and more than a dozen people called for help.

        Despite a sizable number of potential witnesses, police were unable to identify a suspect in the slaying of Alden Ray Little, 37.

        “We've interviewed 11 people so far, and everyone's giving various accounts of what happened,” Hamilton Police Sgt. Jim Malone said Tuesday afternoon, about 12 hours after the shooting in the 300 block of Main Street.

  Hamilton police are asking anyone with information about the shooting of Alden Ray Little to call Detective Dave Collins at 868-5811, Ext. 1214. The shooting occurred in the 300 block of Main Street around 12:45 a.m. Tuesday.
        After watching Monday Night Football on TV at a friend's house, Mr. Little argued outside with several people — one of whom left and returned with a gun and shot Mr. Little from across the street, Sgt. Malone said. The shooting happened at around 12:45 a.m.

The friend Mr. Little had been visiting, Robert Bruce Crane, 45, was arrested on a charge of misconduct at an emergency after he refused to let go of Mr. Little's body, a police report says. Mr. Crane's arrest was necessary so emergency personnel could do their work, but police intend to drop the misconduct charge, Sgt. Malone said.

        “I felt a lot of emotions for (Mr. Little) and the neighbors. As a council person, I felt very helpless,” said City Councilwoman Kathy Becker, who happened to be riding along with police and witnessed the slaying's aftermath.

        Mr. Little was shot in the face, Butler County Coroner Dr. Richard P. Burkhardt said. Police think they found the weapon used in the shooting, but they wouldn't describe it.

        Callers to 911 reported hearing anywhere from two to seven shots. As others yelled in the background, one panicked woman implored: “Oh my God ... a man's been shot. ... He's right here on my sidewalk. Oh my God, please hurry!” Another woman urged police to look for an armed man wearing a white T-shirt running along Ross Avenue.

        Ms. Becker, an active member of the Butler County Coalition for the Homeless, said she had been acquainted with Mr. Little for at least a couple of months.

        “He was always very polite and pleasant in his contacts with me,” she said. “I just think being the person he was, he brought his personality, his strengths and his qualities to our community. And I think those things were lost with his death.”

        Mr. Little's slaying was the city's seventh homicide this year.

        “It puts human life in perspective,” Ms. Becker said. “When you see something like this, it makes you realize that the most precious thing in life is life itself.”
       Reporter Earnest Winston contributed to this story.

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