Columbus, OH — A 10-year-old boy was shot during a Juneteenth Festival Saturday night.
A 15-year-old has been charged with felonious assault in the shooting, which occurred at Franklin Park, outside downtown Columbus. Two other teenagers may have also been involved, according to police.
The unnamed 10-year-old was rushed to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, where he remains in stable condition. The injury is not considered to be life-threatening. Police officers closed the park after 7 pm, two hours before the event was supposed to end, as a safety precaution.
The three-day event, which is also known as Emancipation or Freedom Day, commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in the United States. The name is a portmanteau of “June” and “nineteenth,” the date in 1865 that Texas slaves learned the Emancipation Proclamation declared their freedom. In the Lone Star State, Juneteenth has been an official state holiday since 1980, and as of June 2012, 42 states and the District of Columbia recognize the day as a state holiday or special day of observance.
The eight states that do not recognize Juneteenth are: Arizona, Hawaii, Maryland, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Utah.
Ohio not only recognizes Juneteenth, but in 2006, a bill was passed that set marked September 22 as Emancipation Day because, on that date in 1863 — the first anniversary of the preliminary proclamation — the African-American community in Gallipolis, Ohio, started what has become the longest continuous celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation.
A vendor at the festival, Crystal Coleman, told NBC 4, “To know why we’re coming together and we mess it us up that’s so awful, it’s sickening.”
Resident Benita David said, “Every year they get out here and show out. Now we’re not going to have anything we can do that represents the African-American community and it’s a disgrace.”
The last day of the Juneteenth celebration was reportedly canceled Sunday.