YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Police body camera footage from a triple shooting Tuesday that killed a man and wounded a woman and her 3-year-old daughter show the little girl’s leg covered in blood as she screams, “My dad’s dead!”
Officer Carlo Eggleston, a member of the department’s Neighborhood Response Unit, tried to reassure her as Officer Joe Wess, a police dog handler, tightened a tourniquet on a wound in her leg that was staining her pink pants red with blood.
The footage was released by police Wednesday just before a press conference on the shooting on Mohawk Avenue, which also killed a man who was driving the car.
Police said that shooting and three others a little under 24 hours apart that killed one person and injured four more, do not seem to be related to each other.
Mayor Jamael Tito Brown also said at the press conference at the city police department that two recent developments at the state level have the potential to hamper the city’s efforts to combat violent crime that has risen since 2019.
Brown said he does not agree with a change in state law beginning June 13 that will allow anyone over 21 who passes a background check to carry a gun without a permit or training.
Brown also said a decision at the beginning of the year by the state Supreme Court that says public safety can not be taken into account will also hurt the city because people accused of violent offenses will be able to stay out of jail and potentially commit other crimes.
The press conference was to give information on a pair of shootings Tuesday, including a triple shooting at about 5:30 p.m. in the 3800 block of Mohawk Avenue that killed Rawsheem Aponte, 24, and wounded a 23-year-old woman and 3-year-old girl.
They are both expected to recover, according to police. They were all shot in a car that police said was fleeing their attackers.
The footage from the body camera Wess was wearing shows him pull up on the street, which is already crowded with police cars. He asks an officer as he passes if the shooting is a “Signal 1” — police term for a homicide — and the officer says it is.
Just then, Eggleston appears as if out of nowhere, running with the child, who is crying. His partner on the NRU, Officer Amir Khan, says to clear out the back of his unmarked car but instead, Eggleston puts the girl on the trunk of the car and Wess begins to apply the tourniquet.
As Wess tightens the tourniquet, the girl is crying and screams, “My dad’s dead!”
Eggleston tries to calm her down.
“We don’t know,” he says.
Wess says, “It’s going to hurt a little bit, OK?” and the girl continues crying. When he finishes, they decide to take the girl to the hospital in Wess’ cruiser.
Eggleston sits on the front seat holding the child. Before they can leave, however, an ambulance appears, and Eggleston carries the girl to paramedics, who place her in the ambulance.
This is not the first time Wess has put a tourniquet on a shooting victim. He is credited with saving a woman’s life last April who was wounded in a shooting at a club on East Midlothian Boulevard that killed a man and wounded another person.
Earlier Tuesday, at about 12:50 a.m., two men were wounded after several shots were fired at them while they were pumping gas at a 3200 Market St. gas station.
Police also answered gunfire calls at about 12:40 a.m. Wednesday in the 300 block of South Jackson Street, where four homes and two vehicles were damaged by gunfire. Officers collected 59 shell casings there from three different weapons, including two different semiautomatic rifles.
A woman also said she and her son were shot at about 3:10 p.m. Tuesday by someone in another car at Wilson Avenue and Center Street. They were not injured.
Chief of Detectives Capt. Jason Simon said it does not appear any of those shootings are related, but he added that could change as detectives get deeper into their investigation.
Lt. Mohammad Awad, of the Detective Bureau, said Aponte and the other two victims were being followed by someone who shot them. He would not say how long they were being followed, but he said there appears to be a history between the victims and the people who followed them. He said the shooting was not a random act.
“These are not random acts of violence,” Simon said.
The Market Street and Mohawk Avenue shootings give the city 24 shooting victims for 2021, the same as this time last year, when 139 people were shot, 31 of them fatally.
Last year at this time, there were seven homicides. As of Wednesday afternoon, there were six homicides.
The victims from the Market Street and Mohawk Avenue shootings are recovering at St. Elizabeth Health Center on Belmont Avenue.
Awad also said when it was learned that a child was shot on Mohawk Avenue, two additional detectives were called out to help in the investigation. He would not say much of what police did know, but he did mention that video was being studied and that police are searching for a vehicle used in the shootings.
Brown said from a big picture approach, he believes making it easier for people to carry guns will hurt the city’s efforts in fighting violent crime.
The bill, which is also known as Constitutional Carry, gets rid of the requirement that anyone over 21 get a permit to carry a concealed handgun, which also includes mandatory training.
Brown said he believes people should have to have some kind of training before they are allowed to have a gun, and he also said he thinks people who were too lazy to go to the training will now be more inclined to get a gun now.
The city has seen a rise in shootings and homicides since 2019, when Youngstown recorded 59 shootings, 20 of them homicides. In 2020, there were 98 shootings in the city, including 27 of 28 homicides; and in 2021, 139 people were shot, including all 31 homicide victims.
Brown also decried the Supreme Court decision at the beginning of the year that has led to a lower bond for at least one local murder suspect. Marquez Thomas, 25, was being held on an $800,000 bond after he was arrested for a Dec. 27 shooting that killed Joseph Addison, 42 and injured three others at a Tyrell Avenue apartment complex.
Thomas’ attorney, however, said his bond was too high and cited the Supreme Court decision that said public safety can not be a factor in determining if someone should be eligible for an affordable bond. Judge John Durkin agreed and reduced the bond in February to $150,000. Thomas is still in the county jail, however, because he has been unable to post that bond.
The Supreme Court in their January decision said that public safety is not a “consideration with respect to the financial conditions of bai,l” but the court said other restrictions that are not financial — such as banning a defendant from contact with certain people or travel — can be utilized to ensure public safety.
“These individuals who have these violent tendencies need to be locked up,” Brown said.
Brown said he is afraid a lot of defendants who are free on bail will continue to commit violence. Of the city’s six murder victims this year, three were out on bond when they were killed. Of the 31 murder victims last year, six were out on bond when they were killed, and one suspect was also free on bond.
In 2022, two shooting suspects were free on bond, and one of the victims in the shooting at the Shell Station had a warrant for failure to appear for a minor misdemeanor in municipal court.
Brown and Simon both said what makes things tougher for police are low sentences for gun crimes. Simon said the rate of reoffending for people who have been convicted of a gun crime has been found to be over 70 percent.
In early 2021, WKBN examined sentences for people convicted of weapons under disability, the legal term for people who are not allowed to carry a gun because of a prior felony conviction. Out of 264 cases of weapons under disability bound over from municipal court to common pleas court from 2011 to September 2020, 123 defendants were sentenced to prison, 76 received probation, and 49 cases were dismissed, most of them because the defendants were instead charged in federal court, where the sentences are harsher and parole is also harder to get.
Last year, police made 236 gun arrests, most of them a combination of special details such as Operation Steel Penguin, a task force of local and federal officers who look for gun offenders, and the Neighborhood Response Unit, created by police Chief Carl Davis to deal with gun crimes in areas of the city that have high rates of gunfire calls and shootings.
The video above is the full press conference from the Youngstown Police Department and Mayor Tito Brown on the recent gun violence in Youngstown.