Ginther, city officials call for end to violence following fatal Bicentennial Park shooting

Ohio

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther is condemning the shooting incident that took the life of 16-year old Olivia Kurtz around 11:50 Saturday night.

I am saddened and angered by the tragic and senseless death of a young girl and another life lost due to gun violence. While police are still working to understand what occurred, it is clear that we as a community must do better to protect our children. As a father, my heart aches, and I offer my sincere condolences to the family. Anyone who has information should please call the police.

Mayor Andrew Ginther

Police were called to Bicentennial Park Amphitheater on the Scioto Mile late Saturday night on the report of a shooting at a private event held in the area.

Olivia Kurtz was transported to Grant Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 1:06 a.m. Sunday. Five teenagers were injured, as were two people who arrived at the hospital on their own accord.

Columbus City Council President Pro Tem Elizabeth Brown posted on Twitter that the city needs “all hands on deck” to end violence in Columbus.

“Gun violence is preventable,” she wrote. “Federal, state, local officials must work at all levels to get guns off our streets and – ultimately – to ensure residents feel safe so that they do not turn to violence.”

Malissa Thomas St. Clair, founder of Mothers of Murdered Columbus Children, said youth in the Columbus community have too many guns.

“Now another mother, who is now part of my organization whether she knows it or not, is crying right now,” she said.

Thomas St. Clair said that while she could be sad or mad, she’s chosen to be proactive, which is why she’s calling upon the mayor and the city to do more beside offering youth programs.

“What my call to action is a strict enforcement of a teen-wide city curfew,” she said.

The Columbus Recreation and Parks Commission issued a statement Sunday night, saying it will work with city officials to review policies and safety protocols.

The full statement, attributed to Columbus Recreation and Parks President Derrick Clay, is below:

On behalf of the City of Columbus Recreation and Parks Commission, I would like to express our sincere condolences to the families of the victims of the shooting that took place last evening at Bicentennial Park.

Although the event that took place at Bicentennial Park was not permitted, our 400 plus parks should be enjoyed, in a safe manner, by all residents of our City.  We do not condone violence in our parks and we want the public to know that the City of Columbus Recreation and Parks system is safe for its residents. 

We are working with Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther, Director Paul Rakosky,  the Columbus Police Department and other stakeholders in the community to review our internal policies and safety protocols to ensure the public that our parks are safe.

The City of Columbus Recreation and Parks Department has a budget of over $55 million and consists of over 400 parks, 29 community centers, five athletic complexes, six golf courses, eight outdoor pools, five dog parks, two skate parks and over 230 miles of regional trails. 

Derrick Clay, President, Columbus Recreation and Parks Department Commission

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