COLUMBUS, Ohio– Authorities are raising concerns about a concerning new trend known as “flash mob” takeover events, which involve large gatherings organized through social media that frequently escalate into acts of violence.
The Columbus police are currently conducting an investigation into a recent incident that took place in the southeast side of the city.
During an early morning block party on Monday, a mass shooting occurred, resulting in the injury of at least five individuals, with three of them being under the age of 20.
According to neighbors, the block party where the mass shooting occurred had attracted hundreds of attendees.
Law enforcement believes that this specific block party and similar takeover events have been promoted through social media platforms.
Brian Steel, the Executive Vice President of the Fraternal Order of Police Capital Lodge 9, stated that these social media gatherings are deliberately organized to incite chaos.
He further mentioned that individuals from various parts of the state are traveling to attend these large takeover events.
Given the increasing prevalence of such incidents, the police remain vigilant in their efforts to gather evidence and prevent further occurrences.
Steel emphasized that while gatherings to showcase cars or socialize are acceptable and even encouraged, anyone coming to the city with the intention of participating in flash mobs or takeovers will be apprehended and face legal consequences.
Steel said oftentimes these meetups take place at a rental home. He said when that happens the house is left trashed.
On April 29, hundreds of people crowded the streets of Clintonville for a street takeover also planned on social media.
Police say when they tried to break it up, the people started shooting at Columbus Police officers.
“It’s almost lawlessness with a herd mentality that we can just do whatever we want. We are here to tell you that is not true,” Steel said.
Steel highlighted the collaborative efforts of law enforcement agencies in Central Ohio to proactively identify and monitor flash mob events.
The goal is to gather intelligence and be well-informed about these gatherings before they occur, allowing them to prepare and respond effectively.
By staying ahead of the situation, law enforcement aims to have knowledge of the event location and an estimated count of participating vehicles.
Steel emphasized that they are continuously improving their strategies in dealing with such incidents and that the police will closely track those involved.
As of now, Columbus Police have not released any information regarding the identity or involvement of suspects in the block party shooting that took place on Monday morning.
The investigation is ongoing, and law enforcement authorities are working diligently to gather evidence and identify individuals responsible for the incident.