Middletown police still searching for others in shooting incidents

Up to three people were initially reported shot in the 300 block of Park Street in Middletown, the second shooting in the city Nov. 21, 2016. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Up to three people were initially reported shot in the 300 block of Park Street in Middletown, the second shooting in the city Nov. 21, 2016. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

As people in Middletown are reaching out to one another in an effort to end the rash of shootings in the city, no new arrests have been reported since Wednesday as police continue their investigation.

Police Chief Rodney Muterspaw said that over an eight-day period, seven shootings in four separate incidents with 50 rounds fired. Two people were arrested earlier on Wednesday, and Muterspaw said arrest warrants have been signed for two more people.

“This is out of control. … This is not normal for Middletown,” Muterspaw told the media following the meeting. “This is not about the city and the police department. It’s about the community … The message is ‘put your guns down.’”

The uptick in the black-on-black violence is the result of two groups who are feuding, the chief said. The cases are under investigation, some of which are drug-related and involve young Middletown people ages 18 to 24. He did not elaborate on the suspects but said some did have criminal histories.

Some of the suspects in at least one of the four shootings that occurred in the city since late November have been arraigned or have appeared in Middletown Municipal Court.

Davante Whitaker, 21, Middletown, was charged with felonious assault, having weapons under a disability, carrying a concealed weapon, possessing a firearm in a liquor establishment, after he allegedly shot Thomas Wilkerson on Tuesday at Charles and North outside of Bar Boca. Another unnamed suspect is under investigation. Whitaker is being held in the Middletown City Jail under a $325,000 bond. His next court date is 2 p.m. Dec. 7, according to jail records.

Wilkerson was shot multiple times and was last reported in critical condition at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton. There was no updated information on Wilkerson’s condition available on Thursday afternoon.

Darquan Barefield, 23, Middletown, was arrested Tuesday night at a house on Waite Street, where detectives recovered drugs and two loaded handguns. Barefield was booked in Middletown City Jail on warrants for two counts of felonious assault, discharging a firearm within city limits and carrying a concealed weapon. Additional charges are pending against Barefield, but have not been announced.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Dec. 7 on the charges against Barefield. He was being held in jail under a $175,000 bond.

Anthony Jennings, 19, of Middletown, who was charged with a misdemeanor offense of obstruction official business in connection with the Nov. 22 shooting on Brown Street, appeared Nov. 23 in Middletown Municipal Court where he entered a no contest plea and was found guilty. He received a suspended 10-day jail sentence and a $100 fine.

Ray Davis, 19, of Middletown, who also was charged on Nov. 22 with obstruction of official business, has a pretrial hearing set for Dec. 14, according to court.

Kennan Hutchinson, 19, was arrested for obstructing official business and discharging a firearm within city limits after he allegedly shot himself in the leg on Brown Street Nov. 22. He reportedly told police he was shot in a drive-by. There was no court information about Hutchinson, and he was not being held in the Middletown City Jail on Thursday afternoon.

Anyone with information is urged to call Lt. James Cunningham at 513-425-7737.

Staff Writers Rick McCrabb and Lauren Pack contributed to this report.

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