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'You killed someone's kid': Family of Columbus' 199th homicide wants you to know his name; not just the number his death represents

Preston Bell, 22, was shot and killed on Shady Lane Road on Monday. His family said he was a well-mannered young man who was an avid Buckeyes and Steelers fan.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Shawn Bell said his family still can’t wrap their heads around his brother’s death.

There are still many puzzle pieces missing.

Here’s what they know: 22-year-old Preston Bell was found fatally shot early Monday morning near the intersection of Shady Lane Road and McAllister Avenue in east Columbus.

Preston’s family has heard rumors – and theories from homicide detectives – but there are no concrete details; nothing police are willing to state publicly beyond that Bell was found fatally shot and that they’re investigating.

Bell’s death represents the 199th homicide in Columbus this year – a record-breaking year for violence in this city.

“This whole thing is mind-boggling. We don’t know how to wrap our heads around it. He was such a good kid,” Shawn Bell told 10 Investigates during an interview Tuesday.

The family described Preston as a good kid, an ambitious, polite, well-mannered young man who loved the Ohio State Buckeyes and Pittsburgh Steelers.

“I can only imagine how scared he was. I hope he wasn’t by himself. There’s no way he was by himself. That’s so messed up. that’s why he was so scared. So this is a tough one,” Shawn Bell said.

Preston’s killing happened in an area of Columbus where murders are not uncommon.

In November, 10 Investigates uncovered more than a dozen of so-called “dead zones” across the city – geographic areas where killings have historically gone unsolved – where a street code that pushes silence over cooperation with police has caused problems for police to be able to make arrests.

In the area where Preston was killed – we found six unsolved homicides all within a mile of where he was killed.

This family is hoping Preston’s murder will buck the trend.

“How can you sleep at night knowing you killed someone’s kid,” said Preston’s mother, Melissa Crosky.

If you have information about this case, you are urged to call Columbus Police or Central Ohio Crime Stoppers at 614-461-TIPS.

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