Pastor Nick Burnett was at the hospital early Sunday morning with victims of the Cameo nightclub shooting.
"It was unbelievable," Burnett said. "The hospital was so crowded, all the seats were taken in the emergency room. The emergency room was literally standing room only."
The pastor of House Of Hope Church in Over-the-Rhine said some of the victims are still in shock after 17 people were shot in the East End club at 1:30 a.m. Sunday. He said he's still piecing together what happened.
Police have said a fight that began earlier in the day escalated inside the nightclub.
“And unfortunately, the massacre began,” the pastor said. “Even if only one person died, to me, it’s still a massacre with folks getting shot up in the club.”
O'Bryan Spikes, 27, of Winton Hills died after the shooting. Five victims remain hospitalized, two of whom remain in critical condition, police and hospital officials said Monday. Burnett explained the damage from the incident goes beyond those who were shot.
“This affected kids, it affected parents, cousins, brothers,” Burnett said. “One gunshot victim starts a domino effect. It goes on for years tearing up families.”
Burnett said gun violence in Cincinnati is bigger than just this one event. He said fatal gun violence leads to him counseling victims for years after presiding over funerals.
“Something’s got to give,” Burnett said. “The city needs to say enough is enough and not just come out when it happens, but really roll up their sleeves and convict people who get caught with these guns.”
Burnett said stiffer penalties for those caught with firearms and more community engagement with police would help.
“As a community, we have to speak out,” Burnett said. "Like we’ve been saying for years, for those who have been on the battlefield of gun violence, enough is enough. Let’s take back our city from guys that are doing these horrific crimes.”
However, in the short term, the pastor is focused trying to help the victims and the community recover from the mass shooting.
“My next step is to counsel them back into this reality that’s called life,” Burnett said. “It was a sad day, so my job is to try to counsel them back to their normal life. That’s hard to do.”