YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — It took Tramaine Wright two years to go from his second charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm to his third.
It took him a little more than a week to pick up his fourth.
Wright, 24, of Manchester Avenue, was arrested Wednesday after police pulled over a car he was a passenger in at East Indianola and Taylor avenues for excessive window tint. Under the passenger seat where he was sitting, reports said officers found a loaded AK-47 type semiautomatic rifle. Under the driver’s seat of the same car, police also reported finding a loaded .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun.
The 17-year-old driver of the car was booked into the Mahoning County Juvenile Justice Center for a charge of improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle.
Wright was arrested Nov. 24 on a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm after police found a loaded .40-caliber handgun following a chase where Wright was arrested. Police say he ran from a traffic stop in the 600 block of West Evergreen Avenue.
He was arraigned Monday in municipal court and posted $10,000 bond on charges of improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle and weapons under disability. Court records show he posted the bond later in the day after he was arraigned.
Records said a 17-year-old was also arrested with Wright on a gun charge in the same traffic stop.
Police Chief Robin Lees, who has been outspoken about penalties for repeat gun offenders, said Wright’s arrest again points out the need for tougher gun laws. Lees has been a proponent of a bill in the state legislature that would increase the penalties for convicted felons caught with guns that would also make jail time mandatory. Presently, a defendant can receive a sentence of probation for up to three years. They are eligible for probation, even if they are convicted of the offense multiple times.
Wednesday, reports said officers pulled over the car Wright was in for excessive window tint, and it pulled into a drive in the 2500 block of Taylor Avenue. Both Wright and the driver got out of the car and were ordered to stop, reports said. The driver obeyed, but Wright continued walking, reports said.
An officer caught up to Wright and was able to take him into custody. When he was searched, police reported finding a bag of fentanyl, seven individual doses of heroin and a bag of crack cocaine in a fanny pack he had strapped across his chest.
Wright was booked into the Mahoning County Jail on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm, improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, possession of fentanyl and possession of cocaine. He is expected to be arraigned Friday in municipal court.
Reports said a woman in the back seat of the car tried to tell police the gun under the driver’s seat was hers, but the juvenile was charged because it was within easy reach of him.
When asked why he needed a gun, reports said Wright told police he has been shot at several times.
On Nov. 24, Wright was arrested after he ran from his car when police tried to pull it over after they saw it run a red light at Market Street and Williamson Avenue. After Wright was caught following the foot chase, officers retraced his steps and found the gun along the path he took while he ran.
Inside the car, police found a 9mm handgun underneath the seat the juvenile was sitting in, reports said.
Court records show Wright was sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2018 after pleading guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm for a May 2018 arrest where police found a gun and drugs in a car he was driving that was pulled over for a traffic stop.
In 2016, he was also sentenced to 18 months in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm as well as other charges, but the details of that arrest are not available.
Court records show Wright is not allowed to have a gun because of a felony conviction in juvenile court.
Lees said it is important to note Wright and the other person arrested were driving through residential neighborhoods that have experienced a rash of shootings this year and heavily armed.
“How is that going to turn out?” he asked.
Since Oct. 19, the department has been running special patrols designed to crack down on gun violence and look for people carrying guns illegally. During that time, those patrols, as well as regular patrol officers, have made 11 arrests for people who are not allowed to own a firearm and an additional 22 arrests for other felony weapons offenses, such as improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle or carrying a concealed weapon.
The special patrols were launched in October after 19 people were shot, three fatally. In November, police had five shootings, one of those a fatal shooting. There has been one shooting so far since December began.
Overall for the year, unofficially 93 people have been shot in the city, with 52 of them being on the South Side, 14 fatally. Of the 26 homicides this year, 25 involved a gun.
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