Teen was 35 weeks pregnant when she lost unborn baby in shooting, police say

As Columbus Police Deputy Chief Tim Becker headed to the Linden area to answer reporter questions about the city’s 89th homicide from Sunday, he got word the 91st homicide happened on the east side Monday.

Detectives are investigating after someone in a car on Denune Avenue sprayed bullets hitting a 15-year-old who was 8 months pregnant with a baby boy.

“To me, they are more than numbers. They are somebody’s child. In this case, this young man didn’t even have an opportunity to be given a name, because he was killed just weeks before he would have been born naturally,” said Becker.

Chief Becker said they are noticing an uptick in drive-by shootings.

“Who knows where the bullets are going to go? In this case, it went into the abdomen of a pregnant female and killed the baby. We have had a fair amount of cases where we believe unintended victims have been hit," Becker said. "It is very difficult to shoot at or from a moving motor vehicle. Even as police officers we don’t train to do that. We try to avoid that at all costs."

Police said Sunday is the deadliest day of the week in 2020.

Neighbors said they heard the shots about 7:30 on Sunday evening.

Shirley Bolen, 79, and her daughter Missy Bolen, 47 said the case is terrible. “Being that young and being shot and the loss of a child. She is just a child herself,” Missy said.

“There was a man running up the street hollering, is she dead? Is she dead? They need to do something, but I for one don’t know what it is,” said Shirley, who has lived in the Linden neighborhood for decades.

Police said the teen was walking with a friend, 31-year Diarice Fitzgerald.

Becker said the teen, who they are not identifying because she is a juvenile, was hit in the belly. The unborn child did not survive but the mother is expected to recover.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said their office has been working with law enforcement to get to the bottom of violence tied to guns, gangs, and drugs. This time, an unborn baby boy will not get to know his mother.

“If there is any indication the offender knew or could observe she was pregnant then we would pursue the homicide charge,” said O’Brien.

Police said the mother was 35 weeks pregnant.

“Obviously it’s a felonious assault with a gun spec on the mother of the child regardless, which carries an 11-year max penalty,” O’Brien said.

Police said there have been 20 homicides in Linden so far in 2020. Half of those cases remain unsolved, including the one of the teen mother who is waiting for justice, and a suspect to be arrested.

“She is still hospitalized. She is going to survive. She did get to spend a few moments with her baby before he was taken off life support,” Becker said.

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