Gunfire calls keep Youngstown police busy Wednesday, early Thursday

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In two of four shootings, police recovered casings used in semiautomatic rifles

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Youngstown police collected over 50 shell casings from a semiautomatic rifle early Thursday in the Market Street parking lot where a man was killed less than a week ago.

Officers also responded to another gunfire call Thursday morning on the north side where a car was hit by seven bullets as two children, ages 2 and four months were inside. No one was hurt.

Those two calls followed calls Wednesday afternoon, where casings from a semiautomatic rifle were recovered from another shooting in front of a south side home and a man was wounded about 12:30 p.m. in front of a home in the 700 block of East Florida Avenue.

Since March 4, eight people have been shot in the city in six separate incidents, three of them fatally. Since the beginning of the year, the city has seen five people killed and 11 wounded.

At this time last year, there were 15 total shootings in the city, eight of them homicides. For 2020, a total of 98 people were shot, including 27 of 28 homicide victims.

About 1:20 a.m. Thursday, police were called to the 3300 block of Market Street after receiving gunshot sensor reports of several rounds being fired. When an officer arrived, they found an SUV with multiple bullet holes in a 3323 Market St. parking lot but no one there.

As officers were investigating, they spotted two men down the street and the men approached them. One of them said he was in the SUV visiting a memorial at 3405 Market St. for 19-year-old Damon Irby Jr., who was shot and killed there Friday, and when he was back in his vehicle he heard several shots.

The SUV would not start so the man got out and ran behind a nearby home, reports said. According to reports, the man told police he saw three men and a van while the gunfire was taking place.

The SUV had several bullet holes in it, reports said. Police found 50 spent 5.56mm shell casings, the type of ammunition typically used in AR-15 semiautomatic rifles, in the parking lot where the memorial was, as well as five spent .40-caliber shell casings.

No one was injured.

Later, police found another car at a home in the 300 block of East Judson Avenue that was damaged by gunfire in the same incident.

A couple of hours later, about 3:05 a.m., an officer on patrol on the north side around St. Elizabeth Health Center on Belmont Avenue heard several gunshots before seeing a car drive away at a high speed from the area where the shots were fired.

The officer pulled the car over and the woman driver told police she was stopped at a red light at Belmont and Madison avenues when someone fired several shots at her car.

The woman told police she sped away because she was afraid for her life.

There were two other adults and two children in the car. No one was injured. Police counted seven bullet holes in the car and found six 9mm shell casings in the intersection.

That area of the north side saw three people wounded in February, two of them outside a house on Harlem Avenue. A home on Broadway Avenue was also targeted twice with semiautomatic rifles but no one was injured in those shootings.

About 6:05 p.m. Wednesday, police were called to Erie Street and East Judson Avenue on the south side for several rounds of gunfire. Witnesses in the 100 block of East Judson Avenue told police they were outside when someone in an SUV drove by and sprayed the area with gunfire.

A house in the nearby 200 block of Potomac Avenue where four children were inside was struck by gunfire but no one was hurt. A car next door to the home was also damaged. Police recovered a .223-caliber shell casing and a live .223-caliber round, which is ammunition that is also typically used in AR-15 rifles.

About 12:30 p.m., police were called to the 700 block of East Florida Avenue for a gunshot sensor call and numerous 911 calls for gunfire. When they arrived they found a car in front of a home damaged by gunfire. The car owner told police he and his brother were getting in the car when someone drove by in another vehicle and fired several shots.

The man’s brother was hit in the arm. Someone drove him to an urgent care facility in Austintown for treatment. Reports said police traced a line of shell casings from Gibson Street to Homestead Avenue.

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