Chillicothe — Jason Salley spoke to Chillicothe Council about excessive shootings in the county in the public address portion Wednesday evening.
He had communicated that to council and the mayor in July…only a few months before his own daughter was shot and wounded.
Salley emailed me his script; read more on his public address in my side story.
During the early morning hours of December 12, 2023, just a few short weeks ago, my wife and I got a call that no parent should ever get. A nurse at Adena called to say that one of our children had been shot. Fear, anger, and shock engulfed us as we rushed to Adena. As we pulled into the ER parking lot we saw a helicopter primed and ready to go. Images and thoughts of the worst-case scenario flooded our minds. After several minutes we were allowed to go back and see our child.
Amid the horrifying circumstances, we found her with a non-life-threatening gunshot wound. After speaking with detectives we learned more about the tragic circumstances surrounding the incident. One person was dead, and another seriously injured. In what could only be called a murder suicide plot. The perpetrator targeted our child.
We see the headlines, and we hear of similar tragedies, but everything becomes overwhelmingly tangible when it involves your own.
Since January 1st, 2023. There have been nearly 50 shootings in Ross County.
On December 31, 2022, a 15-year-old was shot on North High Street. Just days later, on January 10, in the shadow of a sign that said Ohio’s Best Hometown a man was gunned down at the Christopher Inn. There was a drive-by shooting on N. McArthur Street on February 28 and another shooting outside a South Walnut Street laundry mat. In Yoctangee Park, on March 10, a 14-year-old girl was shot in the neck.
As the months passed, more and more shootings occurred. A house and a dog were targeted on April 25th, also in April of 2023 a drive-by shooting rocked the area around Caldwell and Seventh Street. On May 18th, the city was shaken by two near-simultaneous shootings on Linn Street and East Main. And a murder, on July 5th
On July 6th, I sent out an email to all members of city council including Mayor Luke Feeney about the exponential rise in gun violence in our small community.
I listed common sense ideas that could be implemented. I asked this body to step up and address what can only be called a crisis. I have repeatedly emailed our chief of police Ron Meyers only to receive no response in return.
Each member of council at the time including Mayor Feeney ignored my pleas to address the exponential rise of gun violence.
All except Ms. Nickerson. She called me, and we had a wonderful conversation. In the end it was shown to be fruitless. One statement during our conversation stands out among all others. She said, “I don’t know what we can do.” Council members that is simply not good enough. I pray that none of you are awakened to the call that one of your children have been shot.
I want to show you this evidence bag. This is what the detective returned our child’s bloody clothes in. This evidence bag stands as a reminder to myself and should to others that none of our families are safe and untouchable in the midst of rampant gun violence in Chillicothe.
I ask you today to stand for common sense gun reform. To support the move toward enacting red flag laws. A tool that allows families to report to law enforcement if an individual is in a mental health crisis and stopping them from legally purchasing a gun. I ask that you stand against the Columbus gangs that are also bringing weapons of death to our community and putting them in the hands of kids. I ask that you stand for laws that hold parents responsible if their child uses their gun in the commission of a violent crime. I ask that you stand against this crisis of gun violence in our community.
Enough is enough!
For clarity, Salley pointed out that “our child who got shot is actually our niece but we call her our daughter. We raised her since she was a young teen and have had custody of her since 2017.”
Again, read more on his public address and see my video interview in my side story.