DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Fifth Street remained open all day Wednesday as hundreds of protesters and supporters packed the area in anticipation of President Trump’s visit. As it turns out, he would not visit the scene of Sunday’s shooting.
Many were disappointed and frustrated that the President didn’t stop in the Oregon District, but even without him, the political battles raged on.
Former Governor John Kasich foreshadowed a contentious afternoon in the area as people on all sides of the debate over firearms made their voices heard.
“What I’m concerned about is, does this stay on? In another words, does this fade? But I get the sense this one is different,” he said.
Initially there wasn’t much of a police presence in the Oregon District, as their resources were needed elsewhere.
“It becomes labor-intensive. This takes a lot of police personnel, from motorcades to shutting down roadways to perimeter control,” said Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl.
The President’s supporters were outnumbered, but vocal against those calling for gun control measures.
“Just look at the signs,” said resident Steve Terhune. “There’s so much Trump hate here in the city, it’s just unbelievable.”
There were a few intense exchanges, but no major reports of violence.
“There have been a few threats, but we told them to keep it moving. We’re not going to be afraid, and we’re not going to run from this issue,” said resident William Slauter.
Chief Biehl added, “If it looks like emotions are elevating, and it might lead to violence, we’re putting ourselves in between groups to make sure they don’t come in close proximity and let things get out of control.”
He acknowledged the community’s resiliency and admiration.
“The level of respect they have for us, for our professionalism, for our fairness and ability to act appropriately, that our mere presence is going to be calming,” he said.
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