Columbus topped 150 homicides for the year after two people were killed in separate shootings within hours on Thursday in different parts of the city.
Thursday’s first murder – the 150th homicide of 2021 – took place in the college district, resulting in the issuance of a safety advisory for students living off-campus near Ohio State University.
The grim milestone comes as 2021 is already the second deadliest in city history after three men were killed over the weekend. And if the killings continue at the current rate, Columbus will far exceed last year’s record year for homicides, when 175 people were killed.
Read more: Two more weekend homicides, six more shootings, keep Columbus on pace in most violent year ever
In 2020, the deadliest year on record, it was not until November 28 that the 150th homicide was achieved. At the same time last year, 106 people were killed.
Columbus Police were dispatched shortly after 3 p.m. after receiving a report that a man was shot outside at the back of an apartment building in the 1900 block of North 4th Street, about a mile west of the Ohio State campus. The man was found outside between 19th and 20th Avenues and was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died at 3:40 p.m., Lt. Wade Spears said.
The man’s name will not be released until his family is notified of his death, Spears said.
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 other university affiliate. The advisory also reminded students and residents of the university district to lock doors and windows, walk with other people when possible, and be aware of their surroundings in the campus area.
Crime around the OSU campus has long been a concern for students and their parents, and this year’s fall semester was no exception.
The state of Ohio has issued several security alerts regarding violent crime in off-campus areas, culminating with the Aug. 27 announcement that the university would be expanding its security measures. At a press conference that day, Ohio State University Police Chief Kimberly Spears-McNatt announced that the measures would include the construction of additional light towers, the installation of more cameras along pedestrian paths on campus and enhanced off-campus security provided by the Community Crime Patrol and security vehicles flagged.
For subscribers: Parents express concern after Ohio state fall semester crime spree begins
An Ohio State spokesperson declined to comment beyond the safety advisory when he was reached Thursday night by the Dispatch.
Later Thursday afternoon, Columbus Police reported that a person died after being shot on the 5500 block of Floral Circle South in the Autumn Springs Apartments complex on the west side of Norton Road on the Far West Side of the city. No further details of the shooting were immediately available; police at the scene were not speaking to a Dispatch reporter about the incident, the city’s 151st homicide in 2021.
Days earlier, the weekend was marred by what police have since confirmed to be three homicides and a slew of non-fatal shootings.
Columbus homicide detectives on Thursday identified a man who was struck and killed by a car on 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 being struck by a vehicle. Ratcliff’s death is being investigated as a homicide, police said.
No suspect has been identified.
Read more: FBI, Columbus Police Offer $ 25,000 Reward in Fatal Bicentennial Park Shooting
On Wednesday, it was announced that the FBI was joining the search for the suspected killer behind the deadly May 22 shooting of a 16-year-old girl in Bicentennial Park that injured five other teenagers. Olivia Kurtz is one of 35 people killed this year in Columbus who are under the age of 21, Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant said at a press conference that day.
Anyone with information about a homicide can call the Columbus Police Division Homicide Unit at 614-645-4730 or report an anonymous tip to the Central Ohio Crime Stoppers at 614-461-8477.
Eric Lagatta is a reporter for the Columbus Dispatch covering public safety, breaking news and social justice issues. Contact him at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @EricLagatta