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Police shooting shocks Columbus, 2 officers dead

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Two Westerville police officers were shot and killed Saturday afternoon on Crosswind Drive. Officers Eric Joering, 39, and Anthony Morelli, 54, responded to a 911 hang-up around 11:30am and were fired on when they arrived at the address.

ABC6 identified the alleged shooter was identified as Quentin Lamar Smith. He was wounded in the exchange of gunfire with the officers and taken to an area hospital. No word yet on the alleged killers condition.

Court records showed Smith with a criminal history, including indictments for violent crimes like burglary, domestic violence and felony assault when he lived near Cleveland about a decade ago. Smith had pleaded guilty to the burglary and domestic violence charges, and spent some time in jail during his court proceedings.

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An outpouring of support and condolences began late Saturday afternoon from the President, Mayor and others. A pair of memorial vigils are planned Sunday: one at 2:30 p.m. at Westerville North High School, and the other for 6:00 p.m. at Heritage Church in Maxtown Road. A third vigil is in the works for Tuesday.

There have been several reports of fake GoFundme pages looking to profit from the death of these officers, however supporters are encouraged to donate to the legitimate FOP fund:

BBQ got its deep hooks into me when I had a business in Austin, TX – you know, the home of dry rub, beef and sausage. I’ve indulged on pulled pork in NC topped with slaw and drenched in vinegar sauce and the savory of Memphis-style ribs to the sweetness of Kansas City. Columbus has its own mix of styles, like so many other cuisines that find a home in our midwest oasis.

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TBT: The Short North Posse – Columbus’ most notorious gang

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To look at the Short North in 2019, it’s hard to imagine that it was once the stomping grounds of one of the most notorious and violent street gangs in Columbus history. Though the area is hardly free from crime today, nothing matches the scope and intensity of the offenses brought to bear on the neighborhood by the Short North Posse in the 1990s.

For those unaware of the Posse and its reputation, Columbus Monthly once called the nationally-known street gang “the biggest, baddest, gun-totingest, drug-slingingest, most murderous bunch in town.” The group’s activities were serious enough to draw the attention of local and federal authorities, resulting in over 60 arrests of posse members, many of which carried hefty sentences.

According to court records, the Short North Posse was formed by a group of cocaine dealers who wanted to carve out an area of Columbus as their own turf – the area just north of downtown Columbus. Like any gang, the Posse offered protection to its members while keeping rival gangs and drug dealers at bay.

Though its members were eventually proven guilty of everything from drug charges to racketeering and murder, some claim The Short North Posse were simply administering their own brand of street justice in a neighborhood that had long been neglected by polite society.

Utilizing undercover detectives and covert drug stings, Columbus Police began targeting gang activity in the Short North area in 1993. By May of 1994, the scope of the investigation expanded to include federal authorities.

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In March of 1995, a sweeping federal investigation resulted in more than 200 charges from drug dealing to money laundering being leveled against alleged Posse members. More than 40 members of the gang were arrested and tried, with many receiving maximum sentences.

In spite of these wide-ranging convictions, the Short North Posse was far from finished, as a new generation of members stepped up to replace those who were incarcerated. Two more major waves of arrests followed, with ten more Posse members facing charges in 2006.

19 additional arrests in 2010 effectively marked the end of the Posse’s presence as a criminal force in the city. Of the 19 charged, 13 pleaded guilty and six others were convicted by juries and sentenced to life without parole. In all, the final wave of arrests yielded 31 murder-related convictions.

Short North Posse leader Robert Ledbetter

The final conviction associated with the Short North Posse came in 2017. Robert Ledbetter, a Posse leader, was sentenced to several consecutive life sentences for the revenge killing of 23-year-old Alan Johnson in 2006, who had allegedly murdered Ledbetter’s brother. He was also convicted for his role in the death of drug dealer Marschell Brumfield Junior, and for ordering the murder of his then girlfriend while he was in custody in 2011.

While the violent nature of the crimes committed by Posse members is a matter of record, some say there are two sides to the long-standing gang’s saga.

Was the Short North Posse really as bad as their rap sheet would suggest, or were they unjustly targeted by powerful interests? Whatever the case may be, the Short North of today bears little resemblance to the streets run by Posse members two decades ago.

 

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Bloody Sunday: two stabbed at Short North bar

Mike Thomas

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Capping off a weekend of violence in the Short North that included a massive brawl, two people were taken to the hospital with stab wounds suffered from an incident at a High Street bar Sunday night.

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Records show that Columbus police responded to a call at Standard Hall around 9:00PM. They say a man stabbed two bouncers when they attempted to remove him from the bar.

When police arrived on the scene, they located the two victims who were “bleeding and had visible injuries” according to an unofficial report. The two were transported to OSU medical center, both in stable condition.

The suspect is still on the loose, and is wanted for felonious assault. Police have not released a description of the perpetrator at this time.

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Video: weekend brawl stops traffic in Short North Streets

Mike Thomas

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For most people, St. Paddy’s day is a joyful celebration of all things Irish. For others, the holiday is used as a pretense to unleash more base tendencies of human nature through binge drinking, violence, and general foolishness.

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A video showcasing a dustup involving a dozen or more St. Paddy’s revelers in the the Short North this weekend has been making the rounds on social media. The fracas broke out in front of the Columbus convention center, interrupting traffic for several minutes.

Video of the brawl was posted to imgur, and is embedded below. The video contains acts of violence that some may find disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.

No cause for the fight has been established and police records indicate no arrests were made in relation to the incident.

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