Youngstown homicide victim accused of stealing AR-15 for a ‘mission’ before he died

Local News

A man told police that the victim of Thursday's shooting had taken his AR-15 a few days before and sent him a text: "I'm on a mission. I'll bring it back when I'm done."

Youngstown police are investigating the city’s 27th homicide of the year.


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Reports said a man who was found shot to death late Thursday morning on Youngstown’s south side was a suspect in the theft of a semiautomatic rifle.

In a police report filed the day before Demertius Washington, 37, was killed, a man in a Youngstown-Hubbard Road home told police Washington had taken his AR-15 rifle a few days before, a box of .223-caliber ammunition and sent him a text saying: “I’m on a mission. I’ll bring it back when I’m done.”

Washington was found shot to death about 11:40 a.m. Thursday in the intersection of Chicago and Rosedale avenues in front of a church parking lot. Police said he had been shot several times. His death is the city’s 27th homicide of the year.

Police Chief Robin Lees said detectives are developing leads but as of yet do not have a solid suspect.

Washington was found just minutes after police were called to the 400 block of West Evergreen Avenue for a call of shots fired, but it is not known if that call is related to Washington’s death. It is also unclear yet if Washington was walking when he was killed or dumped from a car, although there were about a dozen shell casings in the road around his body.

Police did not find a rifle with Washington when his body was discovered.

For the year, the city has seen shootings that have killed 26 of the 27 homicide victims and wounded 68 others. For the year, 15 of the 27 homicide victims have been killed on the South Side, with nine of those victims killed west of Market Street and the other six killed east of Market Street.

In 2019, Youngstown had 20 homicides.

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