Editor’s Note: Images were not available for every victim mentioned in this report.
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – In a months-long violence spree in the city of Youngstown, there have been 26 fatal shootings so far this year. There were 28 in all of 2020.
When lives are lost to violence, they leave behind loved ones and memories. This article contains a list of people who have lost their lives to gun violence in the city of Youngstown in 2021, with a few details on who they were and what they were like.
On January 1, just after midnight hit and the new year began, Van Lightning was shot and killed in the 600 block of Almyra Avenue. He was a father of three children. He enjoyed boxing and making music. Van’s family and friends said he was like no other. He liked to joke and he was a giving person.
When police got a call about a car accident at Wirt Blvd. and Delaware Ave. they would arrive to find 34-year-old John Pettiford suffering from a gunshot wound. Pettiford was taken to the hospital but died from his injuries. His family and friends called him Bingo. His mother, Letricia Jones, said he was an excellent father. He had two children, who Jones said he adored and cared for.
Thomas Williams was 34 years old when he died. Police found him with a gunshot wound on South Avenue on March 4. Williams worked at Galaxy Industrial Cleaning. He loved the Dallas Cowboys and loved spending time with his family. He had seven kids he left behind, and two grandkids.
Damon Irby Jr
Damon Irby, Jr. was just 19 when his life was taken by gun violence on March 5. He was known as “Lil Irb” to his family and friends. In 2019, he graduated from East High School. He played for the East High Golden Bears and in his earlier years, he played for the Eastside Titans. He loved playing football and was an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan. He loved being home playing his Xbox game and taking care of his siblings. Damon was described as a very sweet, humble, smart, handsome, young man who also loved math and had a smile that would brighten up any room.
Antonio Deluco was 22 years old when he died at St. Elizabeth Hospital from gunshot wounds. Antonio had one beautiful daughter whom he loved. He was born in Charleston, West Virginia, but lived in Youngstown when he died.
Charles Allen Jr.
On April 3, around 1:30 am, a shooting took place at a nightclub in Youngstown leaving several injured and killing Charles Allen Jr. Charles was 27-year-old and graduated from Campbell Memorial High School. He was a father of six children.
Terrance Sellers was out celebrating his 19th birthday the night he was killed by gun violence on Youngstown’s south side. Blue balloons and lit candles were part of a vigil where about 200 people gathered. He graduated from The Academy for Urban Scholars in Youngstown. Terrance was a father of two sons, both were under two years old at the time of his passing.
Eugene Hill, Jr.
Eugene Hill, Jr. was inside a home on St. Louis Avenue when someone shot into a window striking and killing him. Eugene was 47 years old. His family and friends called him “Rocky”. He loved the Dallas Cowboys and enjoyed working on cars. He was described as having a spirit of giving and a man of God.
On May 23, what is described as a mass shooting took place leaving three injured and two dead. One of the fatal victims was 23-year-old Rayshaun Clay, who died from gunshot wounds. Rayshaun worked for Star Extruded Shapes for four years. He liked basketball and rapping. Rayshaun was a father of four sons and was engaged to be married.
Mikquan Stevens was also a victim of the mass shooting that took place on May 23 in Youngstown. Family and friends knew him as “Quan.” He graduated from Youngstown Rayen Early College and accumulated 49 credit hours at YSU. He wanted to either be an architect or an engineer. He was described as loving to dance and joke around and was all about fashion.
Kesean Bunch was killed on June 6 on the south side of Youngstown in between the time that two separate events calling for an end to violence were taking place. Kesean was 23 years old. He had nine siblings he left behind to cherish his memory.
Malik Stewart was only 16 years old when he was shot and killed in a Hammaker Street apartment on the north side of Youngstown. Malik was a student at Chaney High School. When he was younger he played little league football, and he liked dancing, music, football and spending time with his family. He had three brothers and seven sisters he left behind. Police say the shooting was a result of Malik and another teen playing with a gun and the gun went off.
Cornell Kennedy Jr.
Cornell Kennedy Jr. was 18 years old when he was killed by gunfire on Youngstown’s north side. His family and friends called him C-Money. He had just graduated from East High School a few months earlier. He played little league football and loved the Atlanta Falcons. He was very passionate about pursuing a career in real estate and had just begun his own business, which his parents gifted him with, DMG Realty. He was the oldest of six boys.
Around 2:15 a.m on June 22, police responded to a report of gunfire on South Avenue in Youngstown. When they arrived, they found Abdul Muhammad deceased. He was 30 years old.
Jerbrail Grihm-Harvey was a loving father of six. He was 31 years old when he died from gunshot wounds. He worked in the construction field and was described as “a champion in any sport he played” and said to have “a beautiful smile.” He was also said to be a jokester with a charismatic personality. He loved his children and his family and enjoyed spending time with them.
Reshaud Biggs Jr.
Just one day after his 17th birthday, Reshaud Biggs Jr. was killed by gunfire. His mother says he was a “phenomenal kid.” His family and friends called him Shaudy. Shaudy loved his siblings and was a great brother to them. He played sports, he was a student at Ursuline High School and he was COO of The Biggs Movement LLC, their family business. Red and silver balloons remain tied to a pole in front of where he died in his memory.
To many people, Chris Cordero was known as “Crazy Chris.” That was his stage name, as he was a musical artist. Chris was killed at 34 years old when he was shot on August 5, on Youngstown’s south side. According to his obituary, Chris had 14 children he loved deeply. He was described as being very talented and the life of any party. He loved football and was a 49ers fan.
In the early hours of August 18, a tragedy would occur that claimed the lives of two people, one being 40-year-old Michael Callahan. Michael was shot and killed inside his SUV on Youngstown’s south side. Michael was born in Youngstown and had relocated to Columbiana. He graduated from Columbiana County Career and Technical Center certifying in Welding. He was a brother to two siblings and an uncle to several nieces and nephews.
As Youngstown residents awoke the morning of August 18, many were disheartened and stunned to hear the news that 10-year-old Persayus Davis-May had been shot and killed in her south side home. Persayus was described as a “beautiful and loving child with a fun and contagious personality.” She had nine brothers and three sisters. She would have been starting the 4th grade at Taft Elementary school that fall. The entire community mourned her death, as several vigils were held in her honor. Pink balloons were let go to remember her.
It was August 24, when Ayanna Mills was found deceased inside a west side home. Police say she died from gunshot wounds. Ayanna was a mother of three. She had a Master’s Degree in Psychology from YSU and was a Staffing Manager at Niles Corptemp. She enjoyed cooking and watching Lifetime movies as well as spending time with her family.
Brandon Bell was with his mother Ayanna Mills on August 24, when he was shot on the westside of Youngstown. He was taken to the hospital where he later died. Brandon was 28 years old. He graduated from Chaney High School and was the Manager of the family-owned business “Mills on Wheels Limo Service”. He was described as “a bright, hilarious businessman,” and very loving and protective. He was a brother to eight siblings, and loved his family very much.
If you drive past the corner of Southern Boulevard and East Avondale Avenue in Youngstown, you’ll see pink and silver balloons placed in the same area where Armani Wainwright was shot and killed on August 29. Police found her with multiple gunshot wounds. She was 22 years old.
Telly Smith was 45 years old when he was shot and killed in his Youngstown home. He was a father and grandfather, and loved his family deeply. He loved cars and motorcycles.
Brandon Leonelli was just 24 years old when he was killed in a shooting on the west side of Youngstown, on September 27. Brandon was a cancer survivor at an early age. He went to Struthers and Austintown schools, and he did roofing and remodeled homes. Brandon liked spending time with his family, he also liked to skateboard and riding his four-wheeler.
On November 20, police were called to a home in the 500 block of Plum Street. There they would find a man later identified as 27-year-old Marquise Lewis deceased inside a home. Police say he was shot to death. Marquise went to East High School and loved music. He also loved joking around with his family and friends.