Cincinnati chief urges help in wounding of girl, 3

CINCINNATI (AP) — Cincinnati's new police chief, frustrated by a "no snitches" tradition among some residents, wants people to help police and their community by coming forward with information about a gunbattle in which a child was wounded by a stray bullet.

"It's senseless, and a 3-year-old girl doesn't have a voice," Chief Jeffrey Blackwell said Wednesday. "I'm angry today as the police chief that this type of violence is happening. When it affects children, it affects me personally."

WLWT-TV reports ( ) that Avondale community activist Ozie Davis also called on witnesses to do something to help make their neighborhood safer.

"It's a problem, and I'm telling people of Avondale today there's enough good people that are rallying around one another that you don't have to be scared no more," Davis said. "I'm not going to live in my neighborhood scared."

Cincinnati area authorities have tried to crack down in recent years on witness intimidation and have pushed reluctant witnesses to help put violent drug dealers and other neighborhood criminals behind bars.

Police say the girl was wounded about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday amid a series of shots fired in the Avondale neighborhood. Police say her condition has stabilized, after she was hospitalized in critical condition.

Six people were questioned Tuesday, but released without charges. A reward for information has been raised to $2,000.

Blackwell, who came from Columbus Police three months ago to take over Cincinnati's department, pledged to the community that those involved will be held responsible.

"I have a responsibility to this community to keep it as safe as I can," he said.