A 13-year-old Hamilton student shot to death Wednesday night and an adult wounded in the shooting were victims of planned and targeted violence, according to the city's police chief.
“Enough’s enough,” Hamilton Police Chief Craig Bucheit said after police responded at about 6:30 p.m. to an apartment complex on South Front Street. “I know the families have had enough. I don’t know what it’s going to take to get these young men to understand exactly the consequences to this and the pain they are causing and have caused.”
Jaraius Gilbert Jr., an eighth-grader at Wilson Middle School, died of multiple gunshot wounds, according to Butler County Coroner's Office. His death has been ruled a homicide.
The second victim — Datorion Marcus Burns, 19, of Hamilton — also suffered multiple gunshot wounds, according to Hamilton police. Burns was take to an area hospital for treatment and is expected to survive.
A white teddy bear was placed near a fence Thursday morning where Gilbert Jr. was shot and killed.
“His head was just a few inches from that pole,” Sarah, a neighbor in the apartment complex told the Journal-News. She declined to give her last name out of concerns for her safety.
On Thursday morning, workers from Butler Metropolitan Housing were replacing a window that was shattered in the shooting as young children waited nearby for their school bus.
Gunshots in this neighborhood in the 800 block of South Front Street are common, even in the winter, according to Sarah.
“I was robbed at gunpoint within a month and a half of moving in here in the back lot,” she told the Journal-News, adding that the suspect was never caught.
She has been told there are security cameras in the apartment complex, but she said she has never seen them.
More police patrols in the area might help, she said.
“Be more routine instead of waiting until shots are fired,” Sarah said of the police department.
Police are relatively sure they know who the shooters are, and Wednesday night’s violence is an extension of previous incidents that have occurred in the neighborhood, according to Bucheit.
Because investigators are hearing names familiar to them in terms of possible suspects, the police chief said he is hoping to make a quick arrest.
He declined to comment further on any possible suspects or motives.
Wednesday was not the first time the Gilbert family had been touched by gun violence.
Jaraius Gilbert, the boy’s father, was among several people injured in a shootout in July 2016 at the former Doubles Bar in the city. One person died in that shooting, which sparked a drive-by retaliation shooting several days later that killed two people.
“They knew who they were targeting,” Bucheit said. “This is contained, in my opinion, to a relatively small handful of people.”
In the meantime, he said, police are working to make sure there is no carryover violence from the shooting.
Several events are planned in Hamilton this weekend, including the NightGlow Marathon that is expected to draw more than 700 people to the city on Saturday night, according to the Butler County Visitors Bureau.
Hamilton City Schools officials said Gilbert was an eighth-grade student at Wilson Middle School.
“The school district is sad to learn of another student loss and we send our prayers to Jaraius’ family,” Joni Copas, a district spokeswoman said today.
The school district will have grief counselors at several schools for the next few days, she said.
Anyone with information that could help police is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 513-352-3040. Those who give tips can remain anonymous.