Justice in this year’s unsolved homicides could be just a phone call away, says Columbus police Maj. Gil Slouchick.
So far, five of this year’s 22 killings remain unsolved, and investigators are hoping the public can help them clear those cases.
"We know every one of these cases is just a phone call away from being cleared," said Slouchick, head of the Columbus Police Department's investigative bureau.
The adage that most cases are cleared in the first 48 hours holds true, he said.
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All detectives need is a solid tip -- where to find damning evidence or locate a witness willing to testify.
"Somebody knows something that can clear these cases," Slouchick said.
Often witnesses are unwilling to come forward, fearing reprisal, he said. They should remember they also are in danger if the killers remain free to harm others.
"These people that committed these crimes have no loyalty to them whatsoever," Slouchick said.
At least four of the five unsolved cases were public shootings multiple bystanders may have seen.
Here are the cases in chronological order:
Marcus King, 21, died April 1 during surgery at Midtown Medical Center after he was shot outside the 3003 Victory Drive Carousel Lounge. Police said the Smiths Station, Ala., father of twin 4-year-old boys was shot twice, once in the left side of his abdomen and again in his right buttock. The shooting happened at 2:25 a.m. in the club's parking lot. Witnesses described the shooter as a black man, 25-28 years old, 5-foot-5 to 5-foot-7, slim, dark complected and wearing a red hooded sweatshirt, possibly riding in a 2010-2013 silver four-door Chevy Impala with dark tinted windows and a Georgia tag.
Clifford Kendrick, 50, died April 28 after lengthy treatment at the Midtown Medical Center. He'd been shot April 9 while fleeing two gunmen who knocked on the door of his Farr Road mobile home. One shot Kendrick as he tried to run away. The bullet perforated his intestines, leaving him in critical condition until he died during emergency surgery. Both assailants were described as 17-20 years old, one 5-foot-5, of medium build, wearing a brown-hooded shirt and a white handkerchief over his face.
Robert Brooks, 20, died inside 2940 Gleason Ave. after he was wounded in a barrage of gunfire Aug. 8. Police found his body about 5 a.m., but said reports of shots being fired in the area had come in about four hours earlier.
Bobby Ray Stewart, 47, was shot around 11:40 p.m. Aug. 23 at The Supper Club, 3386 Buena Vista Road, formerly Club Andre's. Authorities said Stewart sustained multiple wounds and died at the hospital at 12:17 a.m. "He was a talented rapper and was working on a song about stopping the violence," said Stewart's friend Ray Baker, founder of UnderGround Soundz Entertainment. "He was an activist for nonviolence, just a very positive man."
Oakland Park resident Robert Bolden, 44, was shot at 12:21 p.m. Nov. 5 outside the Riverwind Apartments off Hawthorne Drive, where police found a small handgun in the street. Witnesses reported hearing five shots. Bolden died from a wound to his torso.
Anyone with information on these cases is asked to call police at 706-653-3400.
That the cases remain uncleared doesn't mean detectives have slacked off, Slouchick said.
"These unsolved cases are not going unattended," he said, noting investigators often work overtime, sometimes 20 hours straight. "You can't come in and go, 'Oh, it's 5 o'clock. It's time to go home,'" the major said.
Besides the cases still uncleared, Columbus police have two in which they've identified suspects yet to be captured. Those suspects are:
Kevin Babe Henderson, 21, wanted in the killing of 32-year-old Chad Herring, found shot in the head Nov. 12 in the passenger seat of a Chevrolet Impala parked on Roosevelt Street.
Otis James Perry, 25, wanted in the fatal shooting of Marquise Shivers, 25, who died Dec. 2 after he was shot around 10 p.m. outside 4006 Sixth Ave.
"We are still looking for those individuals," Slouchick said.
Anyone who sees the suspects is asked to call 911.