Tuesday, November 4, 2003

Glendale residents not accustomed to violence



By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

GLENDALE - Virginia Williams has lived a long, happy life here - long enough for her black hair to turn mostly white. She can tell you, this village and violence don't go together.

"I can't remember anything like this happening in my lifetime," Williams said Monday afternoon. Williams was speaking from the porch of her Church Avenue home, across from where Michael R. Combs was fatally shot Friday - the first homicide in this upscale, historic village in decades.

Violence is such a stranger to this community of 2,200 people, no one seems to recall the last time one person shot another. "But we have had suicides," Police Chief Matt Fruchey said.

Still, among streets lined with grand maples, 1800s-era homes and gas street lamps, "people are asking, 'Is it safe to go out?' " Fruchey said, adding, "Yes, it is."

Attorney Chris Pagan said he sensed more curiosity than fear when he stopped for coffee Monday morning at the Trackside Deli. "People were saying they think there's more to the story," he said.

Musician Sheri Lee, 31, out for a stroll in the Historic Village Shopping District, said people still feel they can safely walk the 1.7-square-mile village. But they're talking about the shooting, "because not that much goes on here."

Fruchey enlisted help from the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office. Neither agency was saying much Monday, but Fruchey said the shooting did not appear random, as Combs and his attacker exchanged some words. Combs was shot around 11 p.m. Friday behind the small white house he had rented since July with his girlfriend, Lisa Baker, 26.

---E-mail jmorse@enquirer.com




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