Thursday, June 10, 2004

2 days, 6 shootings, 2 dead

'Law & Order' on TV, but not in the streets

By Jane Prendergast and Meagan Pollnow
The Cincinnati Enquirer

While Law & Order played on TV inside, real gunfire rang out in front of a South Cumminsville house Tuesday night.

Anthony Davis, 48, who lived downtown, died on the porch of a house on Llewellyn Avenue about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday. Resident Michael Wheelwright was watching the televised crime drama when Davis, who was shot, made it from the street to a chair on Wheelwright's porch.

"He said, 'I've been shot! I've been shot! Help! Call the police!'" Wheelwright said. "He must have been in a lot of pain."

Investigators had just finished at that shooting when they were sent to East 13th Street in Over-the-Rhine on another.

They found Rodney Massey, 41, of Covington. Witnesses said Massey was shot as he got out of an older SUV just before 4 a.m. He died later at University Hospital.

Massey's death was the third killing in the 500 block of 13th Street - an area known for drug dealing and associated violence - in less than three weeks.

Police have not established a motive in Davis' killing, but said they think Massey's death is tied to drugs.

"When you live by the sword, you die by the sword," Cincinnati homicide Lt. Kim Frey said. "You only have to look at what goes on there to know it's probably related to drugs."

The shootings added two more names to 2004's list of homicide victims in Cincinnati, where killings are outpacing last year by 16 percent.

The number of people killed in the city this year is 36 - five more than at this time last year, which recorded a 26-year record high with 75 killings.

Crimes of violence reported to police dropped last year by 9 percent, a trend that followed the rest of the country, where violent crime has dipped for several years.

But from January through April of this year, violent crime rose in Cincinnati compared with the same period last year. Reports of violent crime - which includes murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assaults - have jumped more than 14 percent.

In addition to the two homicides Tuesday and Wednesday, detectives investigated at least four non-fatal shootings Tuesday:

• A man charged with shooting his stepson in Westwood.

• A man shot in Kennedy Heights after arguing with someone he knew, possibly over drugs, police said.

• A man arrested in the West End for shooting at a man, then coming back and threatening to shoot a woman, too.

• A man shot in College Hill by someone who walked up to him on Cedar Avenue and demanded his money and marijuana.

While Frey and several detectives ate lunch Wednesday, she said they had pulled out their board of listed homicides for 1984 - 20 years ago, when there were about 30 killings - and looked at the motives.

Most, she said, were between family members or boyfriends and girlfriends. Police arrested suspects in about 90 percent of those cases.

Now, most killings in Cincinnati are related to drugs and drug dealing, making them more difficult to solve, police say.

The killing on Llewellyn left Wheelwright wondering about the safety of his neighborhood.

"I was raised here. It's a pretty quiet place," he said. "It's just so sad that this happened."

E-mail jprendergast@enquirer .com and

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