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Published: Monday, 8/19/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

Residents say police response too slow

4 injured during shooting in Old West End Saturday

BY TAYLOR DUNGJEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Alex and Susan Craig talk about a shooting that occurred over the weekend on Scottwood Avenue in Toledo's Old West End. They are unsettled by the shooting, but they will not move after 46 years there. Alex and Susan Craig talk about a shooting that occurred over the weekend on Scottwood Avenue in Toledo's Old West End. They are unsettled by the shooting, but they will not move after 46 years there.
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There was one shot — pop — and everyone dropped to the floor.

Jamil Bolden fell on top of a group of women, trying to protect them from any more gunfire.

One young woman near him had a bloody cheek — she must have been hit, he reasoned.

It wasn't until he got home, and his girlfriend saw blood on his shirt, that Mr. Bolden, 18, realized he also was shot.

The teen was one of four people shot Saturday night at the “Mansion Party,” as it was promoted on social media, in Toledo's Old West End neighborhood. An estimated 200 people were at the party in a red-brick, corner-lot mansion at 2272 Scottwood Ave.

The music was loud, the girls were pretty, and initially, the atmosphere was fun.

About an hour into the party, at 10:26 p.m., Rebecca Boone called the Toledo police nonemergency phone line to report an underage-drinking party at the house.

“The house was full,” said Ms. Boone, a 10-year Old West End resident. “There were kids everywhere. We know the neighborhood, and we know that's not right.”

At 10:51 p.m., another caller made a noise complaint. About 20 minutes later, more calls — now for a fight.

“Everything started around 11, it started getting rowdy,” said Mr. Bolden, who was treated at Toledo Hospital for a graze wound to the left side of his abdomen. “You could feel the tension. You could feel in the atmosphere something was going to happen. Before we could leave, that's when everything started going crazy.”

Mr. Bolden said a group of people got into a fight and ran outside, possibly to retrieve guns.

About this time, a security officer from Signal 88, a private security company that patrols the Old West End, was at the scene, waiting for police to arrive.

At 11:16 p.m., “shots-fired” calls started coming in to Toledo police.

“My officer actually heard the shots, and that's when he heard a bunch of people screaming, and they all started to pour into the street,” said Ian Scherer, a Signal 88 shift supervisor. “He pointed women who were screaming for help toward his vehicle for cover.”

Two minutes later, at 11:18, police were dispatched. The first crews arrived four minutes later.

“I look out the window and it looked like a swarm of kids,” said neighbor Susan Craig, who has lived in her home, with her husband Alex, for 46 years. “Kids were running left and right, helter-skelter.”

As people were leaving the party, piling into cars, more shots were fired.

Mr. Scherer, who showed up at the Scottwood home after the shooting, said people in cars were shooting at other people in cars, continuing to fire as they sped off.

A total of four people, including Mr. Bolden, were wounded in the shooting. Treated for “minor injuries” were Ronald Smith, 22, Taylor McCormick, 19, and Sidresha Lamb, 17, all of Toledo.

“I'll call it hell,” Mr. Bolden said. "A bullet ain't got no name. They'll come at anybody.”

Ms. Boone and other Old West End residents, who sounded off on social media, said police should have responded sooner.

“I definitely think they dropped the ball,” Ms. Boone said. “They just didn't take action quick enough. I know we're short on cops … but they already knew it was a problem house.”

Police Sgt. Joe Heffernan said that, on busy nights — like weekends, when 911-call volume often increases — “we have to prioritize our calls by level of importance.”

“The initial call … had not been dispatched because of higher priority calls,” the sergeant said.

About three weeks earlier, police and Signal 88 were sent to the house to break up another party, Mr. Scherer said.

The Scottwood house's wrap-around porch was littered Monday afternoon with broken glass. A tipped-over city garbage can lay on the ground with at least one empty liquor bottle inside. A man who answered the door declined to comment.

“To have something of this nature happen here is unsettling,” said Mr. Craig. “But we're not about to move.”

Contact Taylor Dungjen at tdungjen@theblade.com, or 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @taylordungjen.



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