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Teens Who Fired Guns During Fourth of July Argument Ended Up Killing One Another and Injuring Others, Police Say


Two teens who pulled guns on one another and then pulled their respective triggers during an argument ended up shooting and killing one another, according to Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac on Monday.

The location of the altercation was Smale Park, a popular riverfront location in the city. The date was the evening of the Fourth of July — around 10:48 p.m., to be precise. The Cincinnati Enquirer noted that “issues” had been “increasing for about a year” at that popular place.

Col. Lisa Davis on Sunday night described the area as a “big, complicated scene” where between 400 and 500 people were present when the gunfight occurred. The Cincinnati Reds had just beaten the Chicago Cubs and subsequent fireworks had just wrapped up when the shots rang out.

Brian Hamrick, a reporter with Cincinnati NBC affiliate WLWT, called the incident a “mass shooting at a mass gathering.” He noted that the sheer size of the crowds made it difficult for first responders to reach the injured parties. Police had to apply a tourniquet to one of the victims while waiting for paramedics to arrive. Ashley Kirklen, also of WLWT, said the scene was “chaotic” and that one of the victims was taken to the hospital in an officer’s squad car because the victim had only minutes to spare. One of the victims was located immediately behind Paul Brown Stadium, the home of the Cincinnati Bengals, the station reported.

Capt. Steve Saunders of the Cincinnati Police Department told gathered reporters Sunday night that criminalistics efforts — evidence retrieval, photographing, diagraming, etc. — would probably take until Monday morning to complete. He asked witnesses to come forward if they had information — including by sharing video which might show what occurred.

Reporters asking questions at an impromptu Sunday night police press conference remarked at the sheer number of law enforcement officers who responded.

“It’s a holiday weekend,” Davis said while noting that the department always has additional officers on standby given the reasonable expectation that large crowds are likely to be out celebrating. She noted that more than fifty officers were at the park to handle the case.

Milo Watson, 16, and Dexter Wright, Jr., 19, are both dead. One of the teens died at the scene; the other died at the hospital.

Three other teens were injured. A girl, 17, was shot in the back and was reportedly in critical condition; two boys, 15 and 16, were both shot in the arm.

By Monday, WLWT-TV reported that 78 officers were part of the investigation by the next day.

Isaac, the police chief, said “there is a potential” others may have been involved.

“Sixteen-year-olds, fifteen-year-olds should be able to come to a park on a given evening, a holiday weekend, and not have to be subject to gunfire.”

The families of the two primary suspects, Watson and Wright, generally did not respond to questions about what had occurred, but a family member related to Wright posted on social media that the deceased teen “should have made it home last night, but didn’t,” WLWT reported.

Police said they did not recover any of the weapons used.

Watson was an eleventh-grade student.

[image via screengrab from WLWT-TV/YouTube]

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Aaron Keller holds a juris doctor degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and a broadcast journalism degree from Syracuse University. He is a former anchor and executive producer for the Law&Crime Network and is now deputy editor-in-chief for the Law&Crime website. DISCLAIMER:  This website is for general informational purposes only. You should not rely on it for legal advice. Reading this site or interacting with the author via this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. This website is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. Speak to a competent lawyer in your jurisdiction for legal advice and representation relevant to your situation.