© 2024 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Columbus Officials Call for Information On Killing Outside Far East Community Center

Bryan Steward, grand-uncle of 17-year-old Makenzi Ridley who was shot in the park at the Far East Community Center Thursday night.
Michael Lee
Bryan Steward, grand-uncle of 17-year-old Makenzi Ridley who was shot in the park at the Far East Community Center Thursday night.

Columbus city and law officials are asking for any information about the killing of a 17-year-old girl at the Far East Community Recreation Center Thursday night.

Makenzi Ridley was transported to Mount Carmel East Hospital in critical condition, where she died. Police do not currently have a suspect.

Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant said over 100 kids were gathered at the Far East Community Center for a pop-up event that was shared on social media.

Bryant, whose first day was Friday, said the police department knows that there were multiple people responsible for the shooting that killed Ridley. She added that if people have information about what happened, they should come forward with it.

"This is somebody's daughter, somebody's sister, somebody's niece," Bryant said. "If this was your family, you would want justice."

In fact, Makenzi was the daughter that people would have wanted, said Bryan Steward, her grand-uncle. He described her as someone who was bubbly, smart and someone who cared for every person that she met.

And on her free time, holidays included, she spent her time serving in local soup kitchens, Steward said.

"If you have a daughter or someone that you love, Makenzi represented this," Steward said.

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said the city will continue to work with law enforcement to place officers in places they believe are hotspots for criminal activity, as well as increase security at pools, community centers and parks.

"We owe Makenzi better. We owe one another better. We owe each other a safer, stronger city," Ginther said.

Ginther added that he has asked Bryant on where allocations of resources can be made to prevent killings like Ridley's. But he said solving gun violence in the city is not an overnight process.

"This is a crisis plaguing cities, mid-sized and large cities, across America," Ginther said. "We believe access to guns is a problem."

In May, a 16-year-old was shot and killed at Bicentennial Park during an unpermitted party. The suspect in that case is still unknown.

Michael Lee joined WOSU in 2021, but was previously an intern at the station in 2018. He is a graduate from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism where he obtained his master's degree, and an alumnus of Ohio State University. Michael has previously worked as an intern at the Columbus Dispatch and most recently, the Chicago Sun-Times.