Several hundred people gathered Tuesday night in east Columbus to protest a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for shooting and killing Michael Brown in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.
Attendees At Quarter Horse Congress React To North Side Shooting
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It could be up to a Franklin County grand jury to determine if an elderly woman should face charges in the fatal shooting of an alleged would be robber. Columbus police say the 70-year-old woman shot and killed a man who barged into a hotel room with a gun demanding money. The woman was attending the All American Quarter Horse Congress at the state fairgrounds. Some people attending the event say they’re shaken but not surprised by the incident. More than a half million people from all over the U.S. come to Columbus to attend the Quarter Horse Congress. Many stay for three weeks. One of them is Jan Avery from Lakeland, Florida who recounted the story she heard about the shooting.
“Apparently she is here at the Congress and he broke in and she shot him,” Avery says. “Yeah. Go for it. I think it’s great. I don’t see anything wrong with it.”
Another attendee, Chicagoan Mary Jo McNamara says she’s been coming to the Congress for the past two decades. She says she’s seen a slow decline in some of the Columbus neighborhoods around the state fairgrounds.
“Over the last 20 years we’ve been coming back and forth but we’ve seen the restaurants close, the supermarkets close, it just seems that this area gets hit, when the economy goes down it gets hit extremely hard,” McNamara says.
The sprawling Quarter Horse Congress is heavily patrolled by state troopers. But outside the fairgrounds some people like Mary Jo McNamara worry about their personal safety.
“In the hotels you wonder. One year we had somebody go through our suitcases, and we had people in the parking lot that we were afraid of, so if I were a woman staying there by myself I wouldn’t be comfortable,” McNamara says.
But Floridian Jan Avery doesn’t believe crime is a problem unique to Columbus
“When you have as many people coming in for an event this big it always draws in the undesirables as well so I don’t think it’s anything bad about Columbus it’s just people know the amount of people that are here. We keep everything locked up. We always have at these big shows,” Avery says.