Mayor's Promise To Get Tough On Gun Violence Lacks Action
On February 15, Mayor Andy Ginther stood before three dozen or so public officials, clergy, and mothers of murdered children at the Linden Community Center and talked tough about gun violence.
He declared gun violence a "public health crisis" and vowed to crack down on the criminals behind the gun violence.
"We know that violent crimes that happen in our city are committed by a very small percent of the population that lives here, and we are committed to rooting them out and prosecuting them to the fullest extent of the law," said Mayor Ginther.
To accomplish that, Mayor Ginther, if he hasn't already, must sit down with Franklin County judges and prosecutors, especially those who oversee juvenile offenders, and explain his stance on gun violence to them because they don't seem to be on the same page.
Frustrated Franklin County law enforcement officers, including the Columbus Division of Police, regularly contact The Sussi Report and provide us with alarming examples of how Franklin County prosecutors and judges fire blanks in cases involving firearms.
Here is one that recently caught our attention.
On February 10, 2021, Whitehall Police officers arrested three Columbus men in a stolen 2009 Camry possessing three loaded handguns. All three men have had prior run-ins with the law.
On February 18, 2021, a Franklin County grand jury indicted Makahii Vance-Evans, 19, on improperly handling a firearm, having weapons while under disability, and three counts of receiving stolen property. Vance-Evans is currently on house arrest, waiting to stand trial.
The grand jury indicted Andre Stromer, 20, on having weapons while under disability, improperly handling a firearm, and three counts of receiving stolen property.
Stromer pleaded guilty to having weapons while under disability. The Franklin County Prosecutor's Office dropped the other charges. Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Judge Jaiza Page placed Stromer on Community Control for 36 months.
Waylin Redd, 23, eventually pleaded guilty to attempted carrying a concealed weapon. Redd did six days in jail. The Franklin County Prosecutor's Office dropped the improperly handling of a firearms charge.
Our story doesn't end here.
Vance-Evans has a second case at the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.
On November 17, 2020, a Franklin County grand jury indicted Vance-Evans on two counts of aggravated robbery, four counts of robbery, which included firearms specifications. Judge Page set his bond at $50,000 and allowed Vance-Evans to be on house arrest pending the trial's outcome.
House arrest didn't prevent Vance-Evans from getting into more trouble.
On March 5, the Columbus Division of Police arrested Vance-Evans for having weapons while under disability and improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle.
According to the police report, police found two loaded handguns – Glock 45 and Glock 30 – on two of the backseat passengers. Police also found marijuana in a black case, a digital scale, and a tool used to grind marijuana.
The Franklin County Municipal Court set his bond at $50,085. For now, Vance-Evans remains on house arrest.
On January 28, a Franklin County grand jury indicted Stromer on a receiving stolen property charge. The trial is set for May 3. Judge Page set Stromer's appearance bond at $2,000.
The Sussi Report recently combed through two dozen reports on file with the Columbus Division of Police regarding Andre Stromer. We discovered a young man who has been a menace to society since he was 12 when police say he shot a 35-year-old neighbor in the buttocks with a BB gun.
His long criminal history includes armed robbery, assault, breaking and entering, domestic violence, and burglary.
Police say Stromer even threatened his grandmother. According to a report filed with CPD on January 31, 2021, Stromer threatened to "shoot up" his 61-year-old grandmother's house if she gave him some of her Social Security money.
Back to Waylin Redd.
On March 23, the Columbus Division of Police arrested Redd for improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle. According to the police report, an argument broke out between several people on Oakland Park Avenue. Police confiscated two handguns and a rifle.
The Franklin County Municipal Court set Redd's bond at $5,085. Redd also has a history of domestic violence.
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