Oberlin Teen Shot by Peer
Last Saturday, Nov. 9, gun violence sent one Oberlin teenager to the hospital and led to the arrest of another. These incidents are the fourth and fifth gun-related crimes in Oberlin in the last two weeks.
Shortly before midnight, an Oberlin police officer heard gunfire in the area around Martin Luther King Park. Concerned citizens also called the police reporting that shots had been fired.
A 16-year-old Oberlin resident was wounded in the shooting. A Life Flight helicopter flew the victim to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland after his mother drove him to Allen Memorial Hospital. He was released from the hospital on Sunday.
When the police arrived on the scene, a red van and a 15-year-old male from Elyria were identified as possibly having been involved in the shooting. Officers stopped the van and found a small caliber pistol, but the 15-year-old suspect and others had already left the scene on foot.
On Monday, Nov. 12, the 15-year-old alleged shooter, in the company of his lawyer, turned himself in to the Oberlin Police. Police are asking that the youth be charged with attempted murder, felonious assault and tampering with evidence.
An hour before the shooting, at around 11 p.m., an Oberlin police officer reported hearing gunshots in the area of MLK Park for the first time that night. Police officers found two juveniles near the park. The two 16-year old Oberlin residents were taken into custody for disorderly conduct. One of the adolescents was also charged with underage consumption of alcohol, but no weapons were found.
In another, possibly related incident, an employee of Downtown Pizza employee told the police that he had found a small caliber bullet hole in a wall while cleaning up at around 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning. The employee said that earlier he had heard what he thought was a firecracker but had been unable to leave his post in the pizzeria. Police think that the teenage shooter may have accidently fired his gun in the pizza shop but are still investigating.
In previous weeks, two Oberlin College students were robbed at gunpoint, a shopper at IGA supermarket had a gun pointed at her in an attempted robbery and a man shot at a house with people inside.
“This is definitely a big spike in violent crime in Oberlin,” Oberlin Police Captain Clifton Barnes in an interview. “We’ve had spikes; we’ve had our share of problems.” Despite the apparent rise in violent criminal activity, Barnes stressed that over the past several years the crime situation had improved. “Since 2001 there has been a steady decline in overall crime,” said Barnes.
Oberlin College Assistant Director of Safety and Security Marjorie Burton advises students to take precautions to protect themselves. Burton’s suggestions include avoiding poorly lit or isolated areas, being aware of locations where you can seek help, avoiding strangers, remaining aware of your surroundings and reporting suspicious activity to the Police or Safety and Security office.