Friday, May 13, 2005

Columbus, Ohio

From Columbus’ of March 30, 2005
Guard Shoots Two At Local Apartment Complex

Shooter Says He Acted In Self-Defense

Police are investigating a shooting Wednesday evening by an apartment complex security guard that left two people hospitalized, NBC 4's Teresa Garcia reported.

The shooting happened at about 6 p.m. at the Rustic Ridge apartment complex on Vineshire Drive on the city's east side.

The guard, Cornell McCleary, said the men were causing problems, refused to leave and then became violent, and that he acted in self-defense, Garcia reported. McCleary is a local radio talk-show host and community activist.

Police said the incident started as an exchange of words but quickly turned into a shooting.

A woman said her nephew had just returned home from work when he allegedly was approached by a group of young men. She said he was approached because he was wearing a red shirt.

"It's a damn shame that you can't wear what you want to wear," she said. "The guy approached my nephew thinking he was in a gang."

That's when police said McCleary got involved.

"By this time it escalated to about 10 to 12 guys," McCleary said. "They were threatening the guy to kill him."

Columbus Police Detective Jim Day said McCleary told the group of men to leave, but they didn't.

McCleary said one of the men punched him in the face.

"For no reason one of them hit me and stunned me real bad," McCleary said. "I spinned around and they were moving in. I turned my head around and they hit me again and others were moving in. So I fired. I engaged them and fired."

McCleary said he shot two men he said were attacking him.

The men, Mark Harmon, 20, and Kevin Gullick, 36, were transported to Grant Medical Center. Harmon, who was shot in the foot, was treated and released. Gullick was shot several times and remains in serious condition.

McCleary was interviewed at police headquarters. No charges were immediately filed. An investigation will continue.

According to McCleary's bio on the WTVN-AM Web site, he has been a private investigator for 20 years and is certified by the state as an expert and instructor in the patrol of private property and in self-defense.

McCleary said that if he wasn't at the apartment complex, someone would have died.

"They were giving the gang signs," McCleary said. "They stood there for about five minutes threatening to kill that resident. They were working themselves into a frenzy. There was no doubt in my mind that had I not been there, they probably would have killed someone."
No subsequent stories about this incident were found.

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