A Craigslist sale turned violent

By James Steinbauer and Carleigh Turner, The Miami Student

Volodymyr Kovalenko was fighting his attacker, attempting to wrestle a gun from his hands when it went off.

Kovalenko thought he would be buying a vehicle from a guy he contacted on Craigslist.

Instead, the 23-year-old Miami University student was shot as he struggled to take a gun away from the would-be-car-seller, just after the assailant shot his friend in the living room of a home on North Campus Avenue Tuesday night, Oxford police reports said.

Neither the gunman nor his accomplice, who escaped with $4,000 in cash, had been arrested by Thursday evening.

Kovalenko, a junior from Beachwood, Ohio, was shot in the leg during the struggle. Miami junior Jared Goldhamer, 20, who lives in the home in the 200 block of N. Campus Avenue, also was shot once in the leg. Both men were treated at area hospitals for non life-threatening wounds.

Goldhamer’s father, Seth Goldhamer, said the bullet did not hit his son’s bone and that his son was back in classes Wednesday.

He said his son, who was sitting on a couch in the living room when he was shot, told him he didn’t know the assailants.

Goldhamer said his son told him: “It was the strangest thing, they just started shooting out of nowhere.”

Police said Kovalenko contacted a person through Craigslist to buy a car for $4,000. The purported owner of the vehicle and another man said they drove the vehicle from Cleveland to meet Kovalenko at 210 N. Campus Ave. — a house known as “Study A Broad.”

But instead of exchanging money and a car title, one of the suspects — who acted “jittery and paranoid” when Kovalenko handed him the cash — pulled a gun and shot Goldhamer.

Kovalenko struggled with the suspect for the gun, which discharged and shot him in the leg. The weapon dropped on the floor and Kovalenko kicked it under the couch, according to the police report.

The suspects ran off with the $4,000 in cash, leaving Goldhamer and Kovalenko on the ground, bleeding.

Police towed an SUV, with its licensed plate obscured by paper, from the home Tuesday evening. It was unclear if the vehicle was the one Kovalenko believed he was buying.

Brett Balick, one of Goldhamer’s housemates, called 911 to report the 7:44 p.m. shooting, according to the 911 call.

“Someone just came into my house and shot my friend in the leg,” Balick told the 911 operator. “There’s blood all over my floor. He’s losing a lot of blood.”

Seth Goldhamer said his son called home around 1 a.m. to tell them of the shooting.

“It was pretty surreal,’’ said Goldhamer, who did not drive to Oxford. “Just to have someone call you and say that he’s just been shot.”

Goldhamer said his son was treated at Oxford’s McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital and released by 11 p.m. on Tuesday. Kovalenko was taken to West Chester Hospital, north of Cincinnati. He was no longer listed as a patient there Wednesday night.

Goldhamer said his son and Kovalenko, who attended Beachwood High School together and played on the soccer team there, remained friends at Miami University. Kovalenko is not a resident of the N. Campus Ave. home where Goldhamer lives with seven other men, Seth Goldhamer said.

Jared Goldhamer is a finance major and Kovalenko lists chemistry as his major.

Miami President Gregory Crawford, who stopped at the North Campus scene on his bicycle Tuesday night, did not directly discuss the shooting in a statement to the Miami community on Wednesday.

“Everyone, please keep our students and their families in your thoughts. We hope for our students to recover soon,” he wrote in the statement. “We’re grateful to police and medical professionals for their quick response, care and compassion.”

Police described the suspects as a dark-complected white man, about five-feet, 10-inches tall and weighing about 150 pounds, wearing a gray hoodie and a black man, with dreadlocks, about five-feet, 11-inches tall and weighing about 190 pounds, wearing a gray hoodie.

The shooting remains under investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to call Oxford Police at 513-524-5240.

This story was produced in cooperation with patch.com, a community-focused website with content produced by Miami journalism students. Mariel Padilla contributed to this report.

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