Updated: 4:14 p.m. Thursday, June 19, 2014 | Posted: 1:55 p.m. Thursday, June 19, 2014

Man wanted for shooting at Middletown park

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Man wanted for shooting at Middletown park photo
Juan Douglas Wofford, also known a Little Dougie, is wanted for felonious assault and having weapons under disability for a shooting at about 2 p.m. Wednesday in Douglass Park.

By Rick McCrabb and Lauren Pack

Staff Writer

MIDDLETOWN —

Police have filed charges against a man suspected of shooting a man in the head Wednesday afternoon in a crowded park.

Juan Douglas Wofford, 28, also known as “Little Dougie,” is wanted for felonious assault and having weapons under disability for the shooting of Carlos Knight, 32, at about 2 p.m. in Douglass Park.

Middletown Lt. Scott Reeve said there had been a previous conflict between Wofford and Knight and the men met up at the park. He said Wofford pulled out a gun and Knight was unarmed. He said Knight was shot at close range. Wofford then fled in a red Jeep, which was found abandoned a short time later in a housing project off South Main Street, Reeve said.

Wofford was not in custody as of Thursday night, police said. They said the investigation is ongoing and others are believed to have been involved in the shooting.

Knight was taken by medical helicopter to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, where he remained a patient Thursday. His condition was unavailable.

Wofford was a suspect in a similar shooting in 2008, police said, in which Spencer Davis was fatally shot in the parking lot of the former Grand Illusion bar on Grand Avenue. In that shooting the lot was full of people who witnessed the murder, but no one came forward to testify.

“It is our hope that as a result of this second shooting that one of the original witnesses will come forward to ensure that justice is finally served for Spencer Davis in the 2008 shooting,” Reeve said.

On Thursday afternoon, there were no signs of the violence a day earlier — several children were playing in the splash pad, and men were sitting on a nearby picnic table.

Ladeidra “DeeDee” Davis, 20, of Middletown, brought her 1-year-old son and 9-year-old niece to the park to play in the water. She called the shooting “a freak incident” so she wasn’t worried about more violence. She knows Knight and called him “a sweet guy.”

She was shopping at Walmart Wednesday afternoon buying some items for a party for a friend who graduated that night from Marshall High School, an alternative school in Middletown. Knight was supposed to attend the party, she said.

“We’re all praying for God to help him,” she said.

Meanwhile, a 72-year-old man sitting with others on a picnic table said when he was younger, he served as a mentor to kids in the South End. He said the community needs to return to that time.

“Back then it didn’t matter if you were the baddest kid on the earth, you listened,” said the man who wanted to remain anonymous. “We told them what to do and what not to do. That was the way it was.”

A community forum was scheduled Thursday night to address drugs and violence in the city. But after Wednesday’s shooting, community leaders decided to talk about violence in the South End.

The Rev. Michael Bailey, pastor at Faith United Church, said he was hoping to contact police officials and city leaders to discuss how to make sure Wednesday’s shooting didn’t escalate to more violence.

He called the shooting “sad” because it occurred in the park, so close to where children were playing.

“That’s where it’s supposed to be a place where kids feel safe an they can have fun and laugh,” he said.

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