COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus community leaders say tensions are high after an officer shot a man on the city's southeast side over the weekend.
Pastor Frederick LaMarr of Family Missionary Baptist Church says members of his congregation were in the neighborhood marching to end violence with about 70 community members. Some were just yards away from the gunshots on Wilson Avenue on Sunday.
"A lot of them have never heard gunshots before. You’re talking about young kids," said Pastor LaMarr. “We had a lot of people here from another church, so we said get them back to the church because we don’t want them to be traumatized, the one girl, the one lady that fell, she was traumatized.”
On Sunday around 3 p.m., an officer shot 66-year-old Michael Cleveland, who police said was running away from a traffic stop. Cleveland was taken to a hospital and his condition is described as stable.
Pastor LaMarr says during these times, he and other community members focus on easing tensions and urge their clergies to pray for those involved and remain calm. He says he mentors youth on how to handle situations such as Sunday's by focusing on their actions versus others they can't control.
“When you get stopped, make sure you don’t make no sudden moves, because that’s the culture we’re in, that’s the nature that we’re in,” says Pastor LaMarr.
He’s urging the community to see the body camera footage themselves before drawing conclusions. He says many times when people get stopped, they are in survival mode, but says no matter what, comply to the law.
“If what you’re doing is going to get you shot and you end up dying, then you can’t live to tell your story,” said Pastor LaMarr.
LaMarr said he's thankful none of his members were hurt during the march and says the community needs to work together with police to stop the violence.