COLUMBUS, Ohio — City officials, including newly appointed Columbus Division of Police Chief Elaine Bryant, addressed the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old girl during a press conference Friday.
Makenzi Ridley was shot outside an east Columbus recreation center Thursday night. She was taken to Mount Carmel East, where she later died. Police are still searching for the suspects, though Bryant confirmed there are believed to be multiple people involved.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther spoke alongside Bryant during Friday’s briefing, along with Safety Director Ned Pettus.
Friday’s briefing marks Bryant’s first time holding a formal press conference as the city’s new chief of police.
"Today is my first day on this job, and today is a grim reminder for me of what this job really means and what this badge means," said Bryant. "It's our job to find the person- the people- responsible for this. And we're gonna do that."
On the day of her appointment, Bryant specifically talked about her shock at the skyrocketing crime rates Columbus has seen this past year. Ridley’s death marks the 96th homicide in Columbus in just 2021.
Columbus City Schools confirmed on Friday that Ridley had recently graduated from the district.
"We are trying to understand how such a beautiful life could be snuffed out," said Ridley's uncle. "We have to love each other more than this."
In May, Ginther announced several programs aimed at keeping kids engaged during the summer in an effort to curb some of that crime the city is experiencing. One of those endeavors included extending community center hours in an effort to give kids a safe place to hang out.
"As a community we have to work better, to build a better future," said Ginther. "Gun violence is plaguing our city. It's plaguing cities all over our country. It must stop."
Anyone with information is asked to call the Columbus Police Homicide Unit at 614-645-4730 or Central Ohio Crime Stoppers at 614-461-8477.