3 Dead After Gunman, Identified as Omar Santa Perez, Opens Fire in Downtown Cincinnati: Police
Responding officers returned fire, police said.
A gunman opened fire in downtown Cincinnati during the morning rush, killing three people and injuring at least five others, police said. The shooter also died at the scene.
The shooting rampage began at 9:10 a.m. at the Fifth Third Bank on Walnut Street, authorities said. The gunman first opened fire in the building's loading dock and then moved into the lobby, where officers exchanged gunfire with him, according to Police Chief Eliot Isaac.
"These are things we see happening across the country and we all have to be vigilant and prepared to deal with these situations," Isaac said.
The gunman was later identified as Omar Enrique Santa Perez, 29. He died after being shot several times by police, Isaac said. He was armed with a 9mm handgun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
He was born in Pureto Rico and had been living in the city since at least 2015, Isaac said. At one time, he lived in the basement of his aunt's house. Yudy Martinez Perez broke down in sobs when she learned her nephew was the shooter, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
“Oh, no, no, no, no,” the woman said as she slumped against the wall and spoke to Santa Perez’s sister, the paper reported. “He was very quiet,” said Martinez, who speaks only limited English. “I do not know why. I do not know why.”
The victims have been identified as Pruthvi Raj Kandepi, Richard Newcomer and Luis Felipe Calderón, according to the Hamilton County Coroner. No further information was released.
The carnage unfolded in Fountain Square, a popular venue populated by office buildings, restaurants and retail stores.
The gunman's motive was not revealed.
"I heard about eight gunshots, and I actually got on my knees. I kind of got down on the ground and then all the cops started coming," witness James Walker told WLWT. "I'm still shaking."
Ohio Gov. John Kasich condemned the rampage as "a senseless act of violence on the streets of Cincinnati."
Mayor John Cranley called the police and fire rescue response "heroic." Without the police's rapid response, "it could have been much, much worse," he said.
Witness Leonard Cain said he was walking to the bank when someone told him there was a shooter inside. He saw a woman about to enter the bank and people shouted at her, he said, but she had headphones on. "She walked in the door and he shot her," Cain told the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Michael Richardson was outside on a smoke break when he said he heard gunshots coming from the bank lobby.
"I looked behind me and saw the guy — he shot and then he shot again. After that, I started running," Richardson told the paper.
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