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Cincinnati Calm After Fatal Police Shooting

July 28, 2001|From Associated Press

CINCINNATI — A white officer killed a black man in a gun battle Friday--the first fatal police shooting in Cincinnati since the city erupted in riots last spring.

There was no immediate unrest after the shooting, which both the police department and one of its chief critics in the black community said appeared to be justified.

Police said they were taking no special precautions.

Police Chief Thomas Streicher said Ricky Moore, 21, opened fire on Officer Thomas Haas with a sawed-off shotgun, shooting twice before Haas returned fire. Haas was not hurt.

Moore had been warned several times not to fire, Streicher said.

"It was very, very intense. It was an extremely dangerous situation for the officer," he said.

In April, the shooting death of an unarmed black man by a white officer touched off the city's worst racial violence since the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. Dozens of people were injured and more than 800 arrested in three days of violence.

The victim in the April shooting was shot after fleeing from officers trying to arrest him.

The Rev. Damon Lynch III, a black clergyman who criticized police after that slaying, said the latest shooting seemed justified.

"It would seem to just make sense if you open fire on officers with anything . . . you're either going to jail or you're going to go down," Lynch told WLW-AM. Lynch heads the Cincinnati Black United Front and is a leader of a mayoral race-relations commission.

Moore had been convicted of cocaine possession and trafficking in cocaine, according to state prison and Hamilton County court records. He was released from prison in March after serving a six-month sentence and also had misdemeanor convictions of criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.

"We loved Ricky. But everybody who knew Ricky, knew he had a problem," said his aunt, Tanya Hurt, who said Moore was subject to mood swings.

Since the riots, crime has surged and arrests have dropped in Cincinnati, with police admitting that they have been holding back in black neighborhoods for fear of being accused of racism.

As of Thursday, 73 shootings since the riots have left 85 people wounded or killed, compared with nine shootings and 11 victims for the same period last year.

Haas, 33, was responding to a report of a man with a shotgun in the Millvale neighborhood around 12:15 a.m. when he was fired upon in an "ambush-style attack," the police chief said. Moore was armed with a sawed-off, pump action 12-gauge shotgun and was 20 to 30 feet away from the officer, Streicher said.

Haas returned fire with a 9-millimeter handgun and a shotgun, he said.

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