Two suspects linked to Weinland Park shooting in custody


Columbus Police have identified two men charged with federal gun crimes in connection to an August shooting that left two young girls wounded.

One of the men, Cornelius Allen, turned himself in early Friday. The other, Keveante Smoot, is also in custody.

Columbus Police said multiple people fired shots into the crowd at a Short North Reunion at Weinland Park.

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Federal agents are now involved in the search for suspects related to the incident.

On Aug. 11, four people at the park that night were shot, including the two girls, a 10-year-old and 5-year-old Da'Nautica Wilson.

The girl’s mother, Sophia Harrison, said she remembers the question Da'Nautica asked her.

"’If I'm such a good girl, then why would they want to shoot me?’ I said, ‘They didn't mean to shoot you. It was probably on accident,’” Harrison said.

A bullet shattered a bone in Da'Nautica's leg, forcing her to start her kindergarten school year with a walker.

Smoot and Allen aren't charged with the actual shootings at this time, but police said their DNA connects them to guns that were recovered from the shooting.

"What we know is that Cornelius Allen had a gun at the park with his DNA on the trigger," said Columbus Police Detective Scott Polgar. "We know Keveante Smoot had a gun in his car when he went to the hospital with his DNA on the trigger. We're awaiting lab results from our crime lab to determine if the shell casings found at the scene match the guns we have collected."

He said investigators found casings from four different guns at the scene.

"Somebody went there with a laser scope and an AK-47 and shot over 20 rounds into a crowd of people and kids," Polgar said.

"We need the community's assistance in this situation," said ATF Special Agent Roland Herndon. "We cannot stand and allow children to be shot in parks while they are playing."

Da'Nautica said all she wants is an apology.

"Don't take them to jail, tell them to say sorry," she said.

Police want answers and help from the public.

"Stand up for our community, and I'll help," said Polgar.

Police said they believe the shooting was gang-related and that Allen has ties to the Short North Posse street gang.

Authorities said both Smoot and Allen are charged with felony possession of a firearm and could face up to 10 years in prison.


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