Monday marks three years since deadly Fifth Third Center shooting
CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Three years ago, a 29-year-old gunman opened fire inside the Fifth Third Center on Fountain Square, killing three people and injuring two more.
Omar Enrique Santa Perez, 29, went into the bank’s national headquarters on Sept. 6, 2018, where he started shooting shortly after 9 a.m., according to Cincinnati police.
Santa Perez fired a total of 35 rounds before being shot dead by an officer, police said.
The three victims killed were identified as Pruthvi Raj Kandepi, 25, Richard Newcomer, 64, and Luis Felipe Calderón, 48.
Whitney Austin, who was shot 12 times, is among those who survived the shooting.
Austin’s life was forever changed that morning when she walked into the Fifth Third Center lobby.
“September 6th was a horrific, traumatic day, but for me, it ended with everything I ever wanted, which was to get back to my family,” said Austin. “My small children, my husband and I will never ever be able to pay that back enough, and so that’s the reason Whitney Strong exists, is because I’m trying to pay that gift forward.
In the years since, Austin devoted her time to ending gun violence through her organization, Whitney Strong.
The non-profit does not try to debate whether guns are good or bad but instead uses data to help reduce gun violence, the organization’s website states.
Whitney Strong will hold its Night for Life event on Sept. 25 as they partner with communities to share stories of trauma, resilience and purpose.
Through free in-person workshops, Whitney Strong focuses on gun safety and save a life, stop the bleed instruction and gun lock distribution all over Kentucky and Ohio.
There is advocacy for mental health and bipartisan gun violence prevention bills in both states and funding research at Cincinnati Children’s to help families of high-risk teens to prevent firearm-related injury or death.
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