Springfield police: Sunday’s mass shooting ‘not random’

A memorial has started to form at the scene of a fatal mass shooting along Clifton Avenue Monday, May 2, 2022. One woman was killed and four others wounded in a shooting in front of 1227 Clifton Avenue early Sunday morning. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

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A memorial has started to form at the scene of a fatal mass shooting along Clifton Avenue Monday, May 2, 2022. One woman was killed and four others wounded in a shooting in front of 1227 Clifton Avenue early Sunday morning. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

The early Sunday morning mass shooting that left one person dead and four others injured was “not a random incident,” Springfield police said Monday.

Meanwhile, a Springfield native whose father died in his arms during the Oregon District mass shooting in Dayton nearly three years ago, said he’s once again heart broken over gun violence in the area.

Detectives have not said whether they’ve charged anyone in connection to Sunday’s shootings that led to the death of De’Arion Welliford, 23, of Springfield. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The other shooting victims — two women and two men, all the ages of 19 to 24 — were transported to local hospitals. One person was transferred to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, and two others arrived on their own to Springfield Regional Medical Center with gunshot wounds.

Their conditions are unclear, and none of the shooting victims as of Monday afternoon were listed as patients at either Springfield Regional Medical Center or Miami Valley Hospital.

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A makeshift memorial for the victims on Monday was at the site of the shooting on Clifton Avenue near Rice Street and Southern Avenue on the south side of the city. In addition, officers returned to the scene to search for more evidence.

It’s not clear at this time what led to the shootings, but there doesn’t appear to have been a party going on at the time of the incident, police said.

The shooting happened shortly before 3 a.m. Police said they started their investigation after they received several calls about shots fired in the area of 1227 Clifton Ave.

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The shooting occurred in the area of 1227 Clifton Ave. Map by Mark Freistedt.

The shooting occurred in the area of 1227 Clifton Ave. Map by Mark Freistedt.

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The shooting occurred in the area of 1227 Clifton Ave. Map by Mark Freistedt.

Neighbors on Monday said they were awakened by loud banging noises early Sunday morning, and witnessed a large crowd outside, with people shouting and running in the street.

Clark County Sheriff’s deputies and troopers from the Springfield Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol assisted at the scene. At least a few blocks of streets around the Clifton Avenue scene were cordoned off early Sunday for the investigation.

Anyone with information about the shootings is asked to call authorities at 937-324-7685.

This was the second mass shooting in Springfield in less than a year. Last June, six people were shot at a venue on South Yellow Springs Street while people were attending a celebration of life event, the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office said.

Springfield Police Chief Lee Graf said at the time that the injuries of those who were shot in the June 2 incident were not life-threatening. The age of the victims in South Yellow Springs Street incident ranged from 20 to 25 years of age, according to an incident report filed by the Springfield Police Division.

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Two men, Elijah Cuffie, 20, and Davon Hunt, 21, were charged in connection to the 2021 incident. Online court records indicate the cases are still pending and the two are listed online as inmates in the Clark County Jail.

Dion Green, a Springfield native and a survivor of the Oregon District mass shooting, said his heart is broken over gun violence and for the families affected.

“Our communities are crying for support,” he said. “It’s unbearable.”

Green has personal ties to the loss of a loved one to gun violence: his father, Derrick Fudge, died at the Oregon District shooting in 2019. Green created the Fudge Foundation in his dad’s honor to help people affected by gun violence and other traumatic events.

Green is scheduled to speak Tuesday at Springfield High School about gun violence and decision making. Although the event is geared toward youth, he hopes the community also will garner meaning from his words.

“It all begins with choices,” he said. “And it’s time we partner together, work as a community.”

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