Black Ministerial Alliance seeks info on shooting

By Josh Ellerbrock -

LIMA — The Black Ministerial Alliance is partnering with the Lima Police Department to encourage those who may have witnessed the UAW Hall shooting to come forward.

Despite the highly-visible nature of the July 4 United Auto Workers Hall shooting, which resulted in the death of 23-year-old Carrington Lott and injuries of six others, Sgt. Jason Garlock said building a case from the anonymous sources that have responded so far with information has been difficult.

Det. Sean Neidemire said joining forces with the Black Ministerial Alliance may help eliminate the stigma of reporting to the police by creating a community-wide response.

“We often have many cases that can’t be solved because people don’t step up,” Mayor David Berger said. ” It truly is essential that the community understands their responsibility.”

Garlock said it is not uncommon for witnesses to crimes to withhold information from police.

“We are doing this for the families in our community,” said Rev. Dennis Ward, President of the Lima Area Black Ministerial Alliance. “We have seen too many unsolved murders in our community. Families are hurting, and people should speak up and help stop this cycle of violence.”

Lott died early in the morning of July 5 from gunshot wounds as a result of the shooting. Six others — Sequoia Ackles, 23, of Lima; Keith Thomas, 25, of Lima; Damber Andrews, 18, of Lima; Demarius Jackson, 28, of Lima; Janiece Spencer, 21, of Lima; and Antwan Smith, 27, of Columbus — were taken to area hospitals to be treated for gunshot wounds.

According to police reports, the hall had been rented out for a private Independence Day party. Officers were dispatched early Thursday in response to a report of multiple shots fired.

A handgun, found by police at the scene, was believed to have been used in the shootings.

“We need individuals in this community to not tolerate this type of crime,” Garlock said.

This is the second plea for information made by the city and leaders in the black community. A $1,000 reward has been offered by Lima 6th Ward Councilor Derry Glenn for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the shooter.

Persons with additional information regarding the shooting are asked to contact the Lima Police Department at 419-221-5264, Det. Sean Neidemire at 419-221-5295 or Lima CrimeStoppers at 419-229-STOP.

By Josh Ellerbrock

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

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