Youngstown investigators believe homicide victim at south side park was innocent bystander

Local News

The victim was identified by witnesses, but his identity has not been released yet

Homestead Park homicide.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Investigators in Youngstown say someone on a dirt bike fired shots that killed a man at a south side park Saturday night.

Police said a group of people had been playing basketball around 9:45 p.m. at Homestead Park when someone on a bike fired a gun, hitting a 19-year-old Black man.

According to 911 recordings, a caller told police his brother had been shot in the arm, was bleeding and was not breathing well, but he was conscious.

The victim’s brother said it appeared two people were exchanging gunfire at the time because he heard two different kinds of gunfire.

“There was more than one person shooting,” the caller said. “They were shooting him.”

At one point, when describing victim’s injuries, the caller can be heard shouting, “No, don’t pick him up.” The call taker also cautioned against moving him until paramedics arrived.

“I need ya’ll to hurry up, though. Please,” the caller said.

Later, someone can be heard yelling, “Who shot my baby?” over the wail of sirens in the background.

The victim was found between some trees and the park pavilion. The victim later died of his wounds at St. Elizabeth’s.

Police are waiting for the Mahoning County Coroner’s Office to identify the victim.

Police Chief Robin Lees said it appears the victim was not the target of the gunfire and although the investigation is in the early stages, it looks like he was an innocent bystander.

His death is the city’s 18th homicide of the year. In 2019, Youngstown had 20 homicides. There were 12 homicides at this point last year.

The witnesses told police they saw three other people carrying guns and backpacks around the time of the gunfire.

One officer said they had taken several calls recently for kids on dirt bikes shooting guns in the neighborhood. Officers searched the area for a dirt bike but it is unclear if they found one.

Police also investigated another shooting about 4:45 p.m. Sunday when a man said he was turning into the parking lot of a business at East Lucius Avenue and Market Street and heard several gunshots.

The man was hit in the forearm and treated at St. Elizabeth’s, but it is unclear if he drove himself to the hospital or was taken by ambulance.

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