Police Investigate Possible Link Between Two Murders In East Columbus

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Investigators are examining evidence from a Wednesday night murder at an East Side gas station to determine if that shooting is connected to the killing of a teen who was fatally shot in the area just hours later.

Police have identified 17-year-old Devonere Earl O’Shay Simmonds as a suspect in a violent robbery at Convenient Plus Food Mart on Livingston Ave. that ended with the murder of clerk Imran Ashgar.

A person believed by police to be Simmonds was caught by a store security camera with a gun in his hand at the time of the murder.

Six males fled the store with stolen goods after Ashgar’s murder, which occurred at approximately 11:30 p.m., according to investigators. Simmonds is the only suspect who has been identified as a participant in the shooting.

The teen, who is charged with one count of murder, has not been located by police. “He was my backbone,” Ashgar’s wife, Kristine, said of her murdered husband. “He was everything to me, and I can’t understand why someone would take him.”

Ashgar was one of at least two victims to be killed in East Columbus during an eight hour period that spanned Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Construction workers reported the discovery of a teen’s body on Oakwood Ave. at 6:45 a.m. Thursday.

Police believe the teen was shot in the upper body while walking along the road several hours before his murder was reported. Area residents told investigators they heard gunshots at approximately 1:30 a.m., but failed to inform police.

Police have tentatively identified the teenage victim, but are withholding that information from the public until his family has been notified.

Investigators are exploring the possibility of a connection between the teen’s murder and the fatal shooting at Convenience Plus Food Mart, but have not commented on any evidence that establishes a relation.

Columbus homicide detectives are also working to determine the cause of death of a body found in a burning car at approximately 7 a.m. Thursday on Rhodes Ave.

Members of Trinity Baptist Church believe the deceased man was an elderly deacon at their place of worship, but police have yet to identify the man publicly, or determine if he was murdered.  SOURCE
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