COLUMBUS, Ohio — Within a nine-hour period on Thursday, homicide detectives were called to four different scenes, including two involving men on the East Side that could be connected.
The first killing on Thursday — the 150th homicide of 2021 — occurred in the University District, prompting a safety notice to be issued for students living off-campus near Ohio State University.
That victim was identified as 24-year-old Quinten Fuller, who was not associated with Ohio State.
The grim milestone comes as 2021 already stands as the city's second-deadliest in history after three men were killed during the weekend. And if the killings continue at the current pace, Columbus will well surpass last year's record year for homicides, when 175 people were killed.
In 2020, the deadliest year on record, it wasn't until Nov. 28 that the 150th homicide was reached. At this time last year,106 people had been killed in Columbus.
Columbus police were dispatched shortly after 3 p.m. after receiving a report that a man was shot outside in the rear of an apartment building on the 1900 block of North 4th Street, about a mile east of Ohio State's campus. Fuller was found outside between 19th and 20th avenues and was transported to a nearby hospital, where he died at 3:40 p.m., said Lt. Wade Spears.
Police have identified 26-year-old Kaliaf Ivory, of South Linden, as a suspect in the case. An arrest warrant has been filed for Ivory, according to Franklin County court records.
Ivory and Fuller knew each other, according to court records, and were in an ongoing dispute because Ivory was living with Fuller's ex-girlfriend. Court records said Ivory was seen on video entering the apartment building and leaving immediately after the shots were fired.
The Dispatch left a phone message Thursday night with the apartment building's property management company.
The fatal shooting prompted Ohio State University Police to issue a safety notice around 6 p.m. stating that the victim was not a student, faculty member or otherwise affiliated with the university.
Crime around Ohio State's campus has long been a point of concern for students and their parents — and fall semester this year has been no exception.
Ohio State has issued multiple safety alerts about violent crime in off-campus areas, culminating with the Aug. 27 announcement that the university would be expanding its security measures. At a news conference that day, Ohio State University Police Chief Kimberly Spears-McNatt announced that those measures would include constructing additional light towers, installing more cameras along pedestrian pathways on campus, and beefing up off-campus security provided by the Community Crime Patrol and marked security vehicles.
Hours after that shooting, police were dispatched around 5:40 p.m. to an apartment complex on the Far West Side on a report of another shooting. When officers arrived on scene of the Autumn Springs Apartments west of Norton Road, they found a person wounded by gunfire who medics transported to a hospital.
According to police, 24-year-old Bryce Persang was found in the passenger seat of a Honda Fit. The circumstances surrounding the shooting remain under investigation.
Persang died at a nearby hospital shortly after 6 p.m., police said.
Around 10:30 p.m., detectives were called to a carryout on the 1500 block of East Main Street on a report of a man shot. The 47-year-old victim, who is expected to survive his injuries, had sought help inside the business after the shooting, which took place outside.
It was the first of three shootings within an hour involving men, initially believed to be homeless, on the Near East Side. Police are investigating all three shootings as having a potential connection.
The second shooting was reported on the 600 block of Gilbert Street at 10:54 p.m. Thursday. The victim, who has not yet been publicly identified, was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.
Less than an hour later, police were called to the intersection of East Main Street and Nelson Road on a man who was lying in the street. Officers performed CPR on the man, who has not yet been identified, but he died a short time later at an area hospital.
Michelle Heritage, executive director of the Community Shelter Board, wasn't aware of the incidents Friday morning. But she said the city is seeing more incidents of violence.
"For our folks, being on the street is not the safest place," she said. "We are seeing the effect of the pandemic on the people we serve."
That includes shelters and housing for homeless people, which have seen a rising number of incidents of violence, she said. Many homeless people deal with mental health and substance abuse issues, and the pandemic has devastated them, she said.
The three Near East Side shootings took place within a two-mile area and within about 90 minutes.
Days earlier, the weekend was marred by what police have since confirmed were three homicides and a slew of non-fatal shootings.
On Thursday, Columbus homicide detectives identified a man who was hit and killed by a car Sunday afternoon on the Northeast Side. Kaine Ratcliff, 26, was found dead in an alley west of the 2600 block of Beulah Road.
Police had been dispatched shortly before 2 p.m. that day on a report of a pedestrian who had been hit by a vehicle. Ratcliff's death is being investigated as a homicide, police said.
No suspect has been identified.