HOWLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – Prosecutors say a fight on social media prompted a shooting that killed two people and injured three others in Howland.
The man accused of the mass shooting on Saturday afternoon, 47-year-old Nasser Hamad, appeared in court Monday. He is charged with two counts of aggravated murder and three counts of attempted aggravated murder and remains in the Trumbull County Jail on $5 million bond.
Police said the incident stemmed from a family dispute regarding Hamad dating Tracy Hendrickson, the mother of one of the victims, 20-year-old Bryce Hendrickson. She was not involved in the shooting but was inside the house when it happened.
“Bryce is the son, who is upset because [Tracy] is dating Nasser Hamad and has left her husband,” Howland Police Chief Nick Roberts said.
One of the victims is 20-year-old Joshua Williams, who passed away at the hospital. Josh Haber, 19, died at the house on Niles-Cortland Road.
Two of the victims had surgery Saturday night – Bryce Hendrickson and 43-year-old April Trent (Vokes) – the other victim is 17-year-old John Shivley. Trent was shot multiple times in the head, chest, arms and legs, and remains hospitalized. Hendrickson was shot in the face and arm.
Prosecutors say Hamad showed little remorse during his arrest, shouting, “That’s what you get you little [expletive]! How do you like that?” to Hendrickson, according to a prosecutor’s affidavit.
Trumbull County Sheriff Paul Monroe said the shooting happened in the front yard of the home, which is owned by Hamad. He came out of the house with his hands up when officers arrived.
Investigators were well aware of a string of Facebook messages between Hamad and some of the people who showed up at his house over the weekend.
Court documents say Bryce Hendrickson has a Facebook account under the name of “Joaquin Guzman,” in which he used to argue with Hamad in the past.
According to prosecutors, Hendrickson told Hamad, “My mom was dissing the [expletive] outta you too bruh,” to which Hamad responded, “Your mom one of many broads that love me…” and “U beat your mom.” The conversation then turned to allegations that Hamad stole items from Hendrickson, followed by threats between the two in which Hamad tells them to come to his house.
Prosecutors said Hamad said he was tired of the argument and told them to come over, posting his address in the conversation. He told them to beep when they got there, prosecutors said.
Hamad said, “I waiting and blind open. I never call 911 dont worry! Come u [expletives],” court documents said.
None of the fighting over Facebook surprised the mother of Joshua Williams, who died in the gunfire.
“We knew of the animosity that was going on. Their mother, Bryce Hendrickson’s mother, continued for months to play games with the kid, my nephew, Bryce. [She] would come back home and leave them again, come back home and disappear again,” Kristen Williams said. “It was months of head games but my son had no involvement in this.”
Officials say Trent drove all five victims to Hamad’s house on Niles-Cortland Road Saturday to confront him about the ongoing dispute.
Hamad told police that one of the people in the van had a knife but he didn’t see a gun, according to court documents.
Investigators said the situation began when all five got out of the van and a fist fight broke out between Hamad and the 17-year-old boy.
When it ended, they returned to the van while Hamad went inside the home, grabbed a handgun, and started shooting at the vehicle as he walked toward it around 4:25 p.m. Saturday, court documents say.
He unloaded the entire magazine before going back inside to grab another clip and start shooting again.
Witnesses told investigators Hamad placed the gun in the passenger side window and shot at the people inside.
Investigators said Hamad told them, “I just shot them. I got tired of this [expletive]. They been [expletive] with me for a long time and they shouldn’t have come over.”
An EMT told police that he approached the van because he believed the injuries were from a car wreck. He said he asked Hamad what happened, and Hamad responded, “I’ll show you what happened” as he reached between his legs and appeared to be racking a round into a gun or unjamming a gun. The EMT told police that Hamad then fired a shot toward the female driver.
He said another man wearing pajama pants told Hamad “You shot my mom [expletive]” and Hamad fired three times at the man in pajama pants.
At that point, the EMT drove away and ran from the area, court documents said.
Police said as he continued shooting, Hendrickson and the 17-year-old boy ran down Niles-Cortland Road.
Assistant Prosecutor Chris Becker said investigators did a wonderful job collecting evidence and handling a very chaotic scene.
“We’re prepared to prosecute this as evidence by the filing of the complaint and the affidavit. We’re ready to go and we’ll see what the grand jury decides.”
In court Monday, Hamad’s attorney was quick to reveal their legal defense.
“He protected himself. They beat him. Defended himself,” Roger Bauer said.
Hamad’s attorney said his client’s arm was broken in the scuffle.
“My client was at his house, he was attacked by five people. He protected himself. Two of them are dead, several others are wounded.”
This isn’t the first time police dealt with an issue between Hamad and his girlfriend’s children.
Last year, Hamad reported that people were driving past his house, yelling obscenities and throwing trash in the yard. He suspected Hendrickson’s family was involved.
He said they also sent threatening text messages, saying they were bringing guns and a “street gang” was going to his house.
Chief Roberts said investigators advised Hamad to speak with a prosecutor about a restraining order but he never followed through.
Even though Hamad’s son and two friends were in court Monday, they were not willing to talk with WKBN.