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In Wake Of South Linden Shooting, Police Mistrust Inhibits Investigation

partyhall.jpg
Adora Namigadde
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Nine people were injured in a shooting at the J&R Party Hall in South Linden on Sunday.

Columbus police say they're frustrated that nine victims of a Sunday morning shooting in South Linden aren’t cooperating in the investigation. But people in the neighborhood say the unwillingness to work with the police shouldn't be surprising.

Police say neither victims nor witnesses have spoken up in the investigation of yesterday's shooting inside the J&R Party Hall on Cleveland Avenue.

Tahaad Sanders lives a block over from the Party Hall. He says not talking to law enforcement is common practice, because people don't fully trust that police want to help.

The relationship between the police and the South Linden community is tense.

“I’m not gonna blame it on them, but a lot of what’s going on, a lot of the environment, the reason’s people stressed, the reason people’s going through the things – they not knowing what they going through because they just think they living life," Sanders says.

Sanders says both parties view each other in a negative light.

“(The police) view the neighborhood as a bunch of losers, a bunch of people that don’t care about they neighborhoods," he says, "but at the same time you got people who care about they neighborhood, they just scared to do anything about it.”

Columbus Police spokesperson Denise Alex-Bouzounis says a lot of people don't want to snitch.

"They don't want charges filed," Alex-Bouzounis says. "They don't want retaliation."

Sanders and other community members backed up that explanation.

"If the police come and ask right now what happened, you see all these windows? And they see us talking to them? We done," Sanders says. "We won’t do anything but put our families in jeopardy."

According to police, at least two suspects fired dozens of shots inside the Cleveland Avenue building. Two people were initially listed in critical condition, but all victims are now expected to survive.