Detectives with Cincinnati Police say a 15 year old girl shot and killed on Vine Street on Monday night may be the victim of a stray bullet. Police are still searching for leads in the case of Africa Hope, because they tell us at this point no witnesses have come forward. Local 12 Reporter Rich Jaffe spent time learning about the young girl's tragic life and death.
Africa's mom is trying to cope with the possibility that in some way her own demons contributed to her daughters death.Vanessa Hope says, "I truly believe that the Lord has my daughter, and she's at a better place, because Africa was a good child. She just kinda got off track like I did you know. And I probably played a part in it because I have used drugs and alcohol throughout years in Africa's life."
Africa's grandmother raised her and says she tried to get help for the troubled teen, who was clearly also on drugs. Corline Stone says, "Sometimes she'd come home at 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning, just tearing me apart. I'd have to get up and let her in at night or walk the floor 'til she came home, or are the police gonna call and tell me something happened to her."
Video of the shooting scene was shot by a woman in a nearby apartment moments after police found Africa's body on the sidewalk. Detectives say while there were lots of people on the street, at this point no one's talking. However, the evidence may be telling them a lot. Shell casings were found this morning in front of Tuckers Restaurant, barely half a block from where Africa died. People who live around here say they heard three gunshots last night and a lot of yelling moments afterward.
A year ago, the shots were fired inside Tuckers.Tuckers Owner Joe Tucker says, "I flashed back to my wife getting shot of course and I'm saying... I heard the 1700 block of Vine Street and knew it had to be very close... I said oh my God... It's been a while... Non-existent lately. Everything's been back in order, everybody's been corralled, hasn't been too much violence you know."
Africa's grandmother told Rich, "When I heard what happened I just sit on the bed and just come a praying... just come a praying. It's all I could do 'cause I was expecting all this you know."
In the Tuckers shooting, Joe Tuckers wife Karla was shot, as well as an 18-year-old who was left partially paralyzed. Similar to last night's shooting, neither of those victims was believed to be the intended target. Najee Jones was convicted in that attack and got 32 years in prison.
Meanwhile, homicide investigators hope cameras in the area may have recorded the shooting of Africa Hope. If you have any information call Crimestoppers at 352-3040.