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Community Remembers Victims Of Downtown Shooting

fifth third shooting
Bill Rinehart
The scene around the Fifth Third Center at Fountain Square Thursday morning September 6, 2018.

After the Hamilton County Coroner's Office identified the three people killed in Thursday's shooting at Fifth Third Center, those who knew the victims are speaking out. 

Police say Pruthvi Raj Kandepi, 25, of India; Richard Newcomer, 64; and Luis Felipe Calderon, 48, both of Anderson Township; were killed by 29-year-old Omar Enrique Santa Perez when he opened fire Thursday morning inside the bank building just off Fountain Square. Two others were shot, with one in stable condition and the other in critical condition at UC Medical Center. Their identities have not been released. 

"Our hearts break for all the victims who perished in Cincinnati yesterday, especially for the family of Pruthviraj Kandepi -- a 25-year-old consulate of Fifth Third Bank who is from India," read a statement from Daniel Rajaiah, executive director of the Indian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. 

Rajaiah added that his organization has been in touch with Mayor John Cranley, Indian Consulate General Sandeep Chakravorty and the Indian community to find ways to honor Kandepi's memory. 

"We won't let this moment define Cincinnati, and we will continue working diligently to ensure international students and Indian young professionals are always welcomed and embraced in our city," Rajaiah wrote. 

Hamilton County Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco wrote Thursday on Facebook that she met Kandepi at the Hindu temple of Cincinnati. "It's with tears in my eyes that I have to post such a tragic notice in my own hometown!" she wrote. "How do you tell parents who live 10,000 miles away that they will never see their son again because of a senseless shooting in a foreign country?" 

WVXU news partner WCPO spoke with Wes Cotter, a company spokesman for Providence, RI-based Gilbane Building Co., where victim Richard Newcomer worked. "He just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and we couldn't feel any worse about," Cotter told the station, adding that Newcomer worked for the company for about three years and was "a great employee." 

"We are absolutely grief stricken," he said. 

Luis Felipe Calderon was a finance manager at Fifth Third and worked for the company since 2017, WVXU has confirmed. 

Reporter Bill Rinehart re-visited the scene at Fountain Square Friday morning and reported seeing some yellow tape still up and many private security guards. The Square was otherwise quiet and empty. 

In a statement issued Thursday afternoon, Fifth Third Bank suggested the community come together at 4 p.m. Friday on Fountain Square to observe a period of silence for the victims. 


Jennifer Merritt brings 20 years of "tra-digital" journalism experience to WVXU.