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Columbus police respond to violent weekend in city

Columbus Police are responding to what has been a violent weekend in the city, with eight shootings that left five people dead and others injured. Three of the fatal shootings took place at or close to city parks.

On Friday, one man was shot near Driving Park on the city's East Side.

The following day, one person was shot at Nafzger Park on the Southeast Side, and another was killed at Saunders Park on Atcheson Street.

Monday morning, a pair of shootings in the Hilltop left two more people dead.

During a news conference Monday afternoon, Assistant Columbus Police Chief LaShonna Potts sought to reassure the public.

"Columbus is still a very safe place to work, live and play. We got a criminal element. And we know who they are," Chief Potts said.

The recent spike in violence coincides with warmer temperatures across central Ohio.

"We knew that as the weather gets warmer, citizens are going to be out," Potts said, adding that officers are checking on parks at every hour.

"As you are aware, we're losing over 100 officers to buyout, and so we have to be very strategic on where we put our manpower," she said.

In Columbus, 36 homicides have been recorded so far in 2022. That's down from last year's number at this time of 64.

Matthew Rand is the Morning Edition host for 89.7 NPR News. Rand served as an interim producer during the pandemic for WOSU’s All Sides daily talk show.