Updated: 3:54 p.m. Wednesday, April 2, 2014 | Posted: 7:07 p.m. Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Victim identified in fatal shooting on basketball court

College Hill Park shooting, Shaftesbury Road, Dayton, April 1, 2014
Marshall Gorby/Staff

Dayton police investigators record the scene of a fatal shooting Tuesday evening, April 1, 2014, at College Hill Park in Dayton.


College Hill Park, Shaftesbury Road, Dayton, April 1, 2014 photo
Marshall Gorby/Staff

A fatal shooting was reported at College Hill Park on Shaftesbury Road in Dayton, on Tuesday evening, April 1, 2014.

Aaron Smith photo

The shooting victim was identified by the Montgomery County Coroner's Office as Aaron. S. Smith, 28, of Dayton.

By Frazier Smith

Breaking News Staff


A 28-year-old man who lived on Salem Avenue was shot to death in College Hill Park on a basketball court Tuesday evening.

The Montgomery County Coroner's Office identified the victim as Aaron S. Smith, the city of Dayton's ninth homicide of the year and second this week.

An autopsy was planned Wednesday.

Police and medic units dispatched to the 1600 block of Shaftesbury Road at about 6:40 p.m. found Smith, who had been shot several times, Dayton Lt. Mark Ponichtera said.

There were 75 to 100 people in the park at the time, but many fled at the sound of the gunfire. Homicide investigators need the public's help in locating the shooter and more details about what led to the shooting, the lieutenant said.

"Apparently an argument ensued either during a basketball game or after," Ponichtera said.

Lt. Wendy Stiver said Wednesday that Smith knew the shooter, and may have been arguing about a bet when he was shot. Stiver said the suspect has an extensive criminal history, but that police are not releasing the identity of the suspect, who is not in custody.

No information was released on how many times or where the victim was hit or what type of gun was used.

No one else was injured in the shooting, which police say was not believed to be drug or gang related.

"A shooting and a death at any time are bad, but at a park where people enjoy the warm weather? We really need people to come forward to give us information if they have it," the lieutenant said. "For us, it's striking because it happened at a park. Multiple people could have been injured as a result of this" because the park is used extensively by residents.

Ponichtera said there is conflicting information about reports that an off-duty Dayton police officer stopped a car nearby on Otterbein Avenue and that someone in that car has been detained for questioning. He also would not comment on a subsequent report that a gun believed to have been used in the killing was found in that car.

A Dayton Police cruiser responding to the shooting was involved in an accident at Gettysburg and James H. McGee Boulevard. Initially, there were no reported injuries, but a medic unit was dispatched. A call to the supervising officer who handled the accident had not been returned as of 9:45 p.m.

Tuesday night's homicide is the ninth in Dayton this year and the second since Sunday night, when 32-year-old William Milliner was killed in a drive-by shooting in the 200 block of Yale Avenue. Milliner, wounded as he stood outside an apartment building, died at Miami Valley Hospital.

In April 2009, 25-year-old Thomas "Tom-Tom" Watson was gunned down in the same park while playing basketball. Watson was a high-ranking member of the Dayton View Hustlers, a street gang that was the focus of a gang suppression campaign by Dayton and Montgomery County law enforcement agencies.

Watson was shot to death and another man was injured when several masked men ran from the bushes and opened fire on a basketball game. That shooting instigated retaliations throughout Dayton.

-- News Center 7's Kate Bartley contributed to this report.


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