Two men indicted in last weekend's mass shooting in Over-the-Rhine as officials step up safety plans
Two men have been indicted in a mass shooting in Over-the-Rhine last weekend that left nine people injured, including one of the alleged shooters.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters announced the charges Thursday.
"There's a small group of violent criminals that feel empowered to behave like this," Deters said. "How could you do this in front of a police car? And two uniformed officers standing right there?"
Video footage shows a man in an argument for a few moments before firing multiple shots in the direction of a large crowd. Deters identifies him as 29-year-old Diablo McCoats, who is indicted on 16 counts of felonious assault (two for each of the eight people hit) and one count of illegally possessing a weapon.
Cincinnati Police Officer Joseph Shook fired at McCoats, hitting him in the leg as he fled on foot.
A few seconds later, a man on the other side of the street fired at least seven shots. He then leaves the area on foot, putting the gun in his waistband. Police identified him as 35-year-old Jarvis Barnes, the other person indicted. He faces seven counts of felonious assault and one count of illegally possessing a weapon.
Barnes may have been firing at a third, unidentified shooter. At least one shot can be heard on the video before the man identified as Barnes begins shooting.
Asked whether Barnes could have been trying to stop an active shooter and fired in self defense, Deters said he doesn't think so.
"This is some kind of petty turf thing that they had a beef about. And they put innocent people's lives in jeopardy by doing this."
When pressed on the question, Deters clarified: "I don't know if they knew each other. They just knew there was two different groups there, one from the West Side and one from Downtown."
Interim Cincinnati Police Chief Teresa Theetge declined to call the third shooter a suspect.
"Right now we are calling it an unidentified shooter. We need some more information," she said.
A $5,000 reward is still being offered for information leading to an arrest.
The men will be arraigned next week. Deters says if convicted, McCoats faces up to 91 years in prison and Barnes faces up to 80 years.
"If you want to carry a gun in Cincinnati [and] commit crimes, be prepared to go to jail for the rest of your life because that's what's going to happen," Deters said. "We will do everything in our power to get you off the streets forever."
Deters says neither man will be offered a plea deal as he instituted a policy last year to offer no plea deals on cases involving gun crimes.
McCoats has been convicted of 37 misdemeanor offenses and seven felony offenses, according to Deters. Barnes has 14 misdemeanor convictions and eight felony.
New safety plans
Cincinnati officials separately announced several new tactics to improve safety Downtown and in other popular entertainment districts.
Interim City Manager John Curp says it involves multiple city departments.
"You will see public service vehicles that may be parked blocking certain roads in the city, and that is to make sure that we control traffic. We are also instituting parking restrictions on Main Street," Curp said. "The health department, as it has this week past, will be out doing food inspections with vendors located along Main Street to make sure that everyone is who's allowed to sell food is doing so properly."
CPD also plans to increase officer presence Downtown and at The Banks. That includes the SWAT team and civil disturbance response team, which has been out the last several weekends. Mayor Aftab Pureval says the plan is based on community input.
"The chief, Mr. Curp and I led a roundtable [Wednesday] of folks who live and work on Main Street and asked them what they'd like to see," said Mayor Aftab Pureval. "It's a combination of that feedback but also asking our own experts and in our public services and our police department."
Pureval says the parking restrictions are aimed at cars blaring loud music, but also to increase sight lines for officers in the area.
Theetge says CPD will have increased police presence, but not necessarily increased enforcement.
"There's a huge difference there," she said. "We will look for voluntary compliance first, and only after we've exhausted every measure of voluntary compliance, will we go to enforcement."
Theetge says Cincinnati doesn't have a loitering ordinance, so there's not much officers can do about large groups of people hanging out on the sidewalks.
Temporary street, parking and sidewalk changes
On Friday and Saturday night along Main Street from Central Parkway to Liberty Street:
- Closing of Main Street to vehicle traffic starting at 10 p.m. (Metro buses and the Streetcar will continue normal operations on Main Street)
- Eliminating metered parking from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m.
- In addition, the City may limit sidewalk space in the 1300 and 1400 blocks of Main Street. Access to businesses and residences will not be obstructed and ADA requirements will be maintained.