A pregnant woman was taken to the hospital after being shot at in her car while in Columbus, Ohio. It happened in the Polaris area during broad daylight hours. Neighbor Robert Julius heard the shots being fired from his condo. He said it sounded like the person unloaded an entire clip. He went outside to investigate, and there he saw the pregnant woman and a man holding a gun. They asked Julius to call the police, and he responded that he would as long as the man put the gun down.
Columbus Police said that the woman was taken to the hospital as a precaution due to how severe the collision was after they ran into two parked cars. Police discovered dozens of gun shells around the parking lot of Penzone. This isn’t the first time that there have been gunshots around the Polaris area. Columbus Police said that Xavier Lamar Jackson, age 19, has been arrested and charged with two counts of felonious assault. He’s currently being held in the Delaware County Jail.
The 20-year-old pregnant woman was in a vehicle with a 21-year-old man on Polaris Parkway when they noticed a silver Chevrolet Malibu following them. According to the police, Xavier Lamar Jackson was in the vehicle with three other males when the people in the Malibu began shooting at the vehicle with the pregnant woman. Although the victim's car was hit multiple times, neither of the two people in the vehicle were hit. While they were trying to flee, they crashed into two other parked cars. The other three men that were in the car with Jackson have yet to be identified. Anyone with any more information on the situation is being asked to contact Columbus Police at 614-645-4011.
Charles Penzone Salon issued a statement saying that none of their employees were involved in the incident despite the gun shells being found in their parking lot.
"Today, around 12:30 p.m., there were reports of gunfire as a vehicle egressed through our team member parking area and a second vehicle was abandoned. The fact that this incident happened on our salon property was coincidence as the matter didn’t involve anyone associated with our business. We are currently collaborating with CPD, providing them access to all security footage from the scene. The safety of our team members and guests is our top priority and we are so relieved that no one was affected by this unfortunate incident," Debbie Penzone said in a statement.
The Columbus area, especially near Polaris, is familiar with gun violence. Twice back in the spring, the Polaris Fashion Place Mall had shots fired inside. Neighbors are becoming nervous as violence inches it’s way closer into the neighborhood. Although some people, like Julius, are becoming used to the violence that takes place around where they live.
“It is what it is nowadays, right?” said Julius. “Between COVID and everything else.”
The number of homicides going on in Columbus continues to increase, and 2021 has hit a new record for homicides in the city. The violence going on in the area tends to come from young people. According to the ages released for the suspects of homicides in 2021, a third of the suspects are under the age of 21. This can be seen in this situation since Jackson is only 19. The shooting that occurred in the Polaris Mall was also an incident that involved youth violence. Columbus Police think there may be a correlation between how things are being managed in Columbus and with the growth of crime.
"These are clearly young people, yet again, in our city that are committing acts of violence that are putting people in our city in danger," Stg. James Fuqua, a spokesman for the Columbus Division of Police said.
There haven’t been any clear reasons for why there’s been so much violence happening in the Columbus area, especially gun violence. Some of the reasons that people think are contributing to gun violence are issues like poverty and lack of access to education. Education is likely a big reason contributing to why there’s so much gun violence occurring with youth. The police department says that juvenile crime is an issue that the police alone can’t solve. Fuqua says that he wants to see community leaders, mentors, and pastors step in to see what they can do to try and help children who don’t have good parental figures stay away from getting involved with crime.
“We are seeing far too many violent occurrences in our city with young people," Fuqua said. "And we even have the parents of some of these kids who call us directly and say, ‘I can’t control my kids. I need you to do something about it.' So where are the parents? Where are the parents in our community to address taking care of their kids?”
Violence among youth is often a cause of issues that start at home like no good parental figures. Children who have parents who are involved with making poor decisions like using drugs and engaging in violence themselves. Children need good role models in order to make good decisions for themselves, so children who don’t have good role models at home need to be having adult figures like teachers and community leaders interacting with them to try and help them follow the right path.
As Fuqua said, adults in the Columbus community need to be doing more to help raise children to make good decisions in their lives. Since high poverty areas are more likely to be involved in violence, these areas need to be focus areas for making sure that children are getting the care they need to keep them from getting involved with the wrong crowds. Police are a factor for helping this cause, but they can’t do it alone. The issue needs to be tackled from the origin. With a stronger focus on raising children, Columbus can hopefully start to see less cases like the one discussed above.