Undercover Officers Tipped Off To Possible Continuing Violence After Juneteenth Festival Shooting

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UPDATED: Monday June 17, 2013 6:25 PM

Police say undercover officers at the Juneteenth Festival tipped them off to a brewing situation that would have put several people in danger.

They say they had to shut the festival down.

But the organizer says the event was shut down without his knowledge and without exploring other alternatives.

People who regularly attend the festival at Franklin Park say they are upset a child was hurt.

An 11-year-old boy was shot at about 7 p.m. Saturday. Police have charged a 15-year-old boy in connection with the shooting and are looking for another male.

“It was devastating because I thought about coming out with my grandchildren,” said Donna Rogers of Columbus

Police shut down the festival on Saturday after the shooting and canceled the event for Sunday.

Investigators say undercover officers gave them information that there could be more trouble.

"There had been other incidents of violence leading up to the gunshots and there was every indication from our resources within the festival that it was going to continue and possibly escalate,” said Columbus Sgt. Dave Pelphrey.

Pelphrey says the incident commander shared the information with the organizer and the decision was made to shut the festival down.

But through his attorney, organizer Mustafa Shabazz says he never knew why police decided to cancel the event.

"Mr. Shabazz has stated that in fact, a lieutenant just ordered it closed,” said attorney Derek Farmer

Farmer says his client is upset a child was hurt but says other festivals have had incidents and were not shut down.

Farmer says police had other options.

"They didn't have to close it. They could have said, ‘OK, we will limit it to certain things inside to one of the centers.’”

Police maintain that would not have kept the trouble away.

Rogers says it may have been safer to shut things down but says she hopes this will not taint a positive event.

"The person who is over it is a good friend of mine and he has very good intentions, and I don't think this is something he had planned on,” Rogers said.

Police asked that anyone with video from the event contact them at 614-645-4141.

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Previous Stories:
June 17, 2013: Police Ask For Video From Juneteenth Festival Shooting
June 16, 2013: Child Shot As East Side Festival Erupts In Gunfire


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