Forty people stood in Winton Terrace on Thursday night, huddled under umbrellas over the spot where Lawrence McElroy was gunned down exactly a week earlier.
Just hours later, another man would lie dead in the parking lot of an apartment lot complex.
McElroy was the city’s 10th homicide victim when he was killed on March 18. Six more people have followed him onto the list since then.
The latest victim is Calvin Lail, who celebrated his 25th birthday on Monday, one of two days this week in Cincinnati when a black man was not killed by a gun.
Lail was pumped with bullets in the back as he stood early Friday in the parking lot of Island Breeze Apartments at 1042 in the 1000 block of Groesbeck Road in College Hill. Another person with Lail was also shot. Police said they are withholding his identity to protect him.
No one has been arrested for Lail’s shooting death or most of the deaths this year.
Police earlier this week expressed frustration at the pace in which they were running from one homicide to the next without much time to try to track a killer.
“It is getting quite frustrating,” Lt. Col. Vince Demasi said earlier in the week at a homicide scene. “We cannot keep finding people dead on the street.”
The year didn’t start out this way.
January and February ended with a total of five homicides, a low pace not seen since 1996, when the end-of-year homicide number for the city was 32. Homicides have been on the rise since 2001, peaking with a modern record of 89 in 2006. Last year ended with 60.
So far this month, the city has 11 homicides.
The spike has gotten beyond old, said Adbul Bilal, a Cincinnati Streetworker member who works with other former street hustlers to offer support to those who want to get out of the life of street violence.
"A lot of people are really getting fed up with this,” Bilal said Friday evening before racing up to Avondale, where three people were shot. That shooting happened near the Burger King at Reading Road and Lexington Avenue at 7:19 p.m
Two shooting victims were whisked away in a gold minivan before police could get to Reading Road.
The shots came from inside a green car carrying four people. A few minutes after the first report, someone called for police after a 19-year-old was found shot outside at 720 Greenwood Ave. in the 700 block of Greenwood Avenue, which is nearby.
In addition to finding the third shooting victim on Greenwood, police also found the green car, which had a window shot out and blood inside.
One person was believed to be in critical condition Friday night. The conditions of the other two victims were not available.
Three hours later, police in the same district that handled the earlier shootings were called to Walnut Hills for another shooting.
The shooting appears to have happened at Gilbert and Martin Luther King roads. Not far from there off of Martin Luther King on Chapel Street, police found a car with what appeared to be a dozen bullet holes.
“We cannot continue to do this to ourselves,” Bilal said.
Bilal criss-crossed the city Wednesday, when there was a homicide in Avondale at 10:30 a.m. only to be followed 30 minutes later by a shooting in Evanston and then a double shooting at 2:30 p.m. in West Price Hill.
Thursday, there were no deaths, but he attended the vigil in the freezing rain for McElroy. Next week, he plans to attend as many funerals as possible for the latest homicide victims. There are three planned for next Thursday.
“This is slaughter,” he said.