Neighbors blame Warren homicide on drugs

WARREN, Ohio (WYTV) – Police in Warren are investigating the death of Mitchell Pruitt, 50, as a homicide after they found his body inside a home on the city’s southwest side early Tuesday morning.

Police came to a home at 1570 Deerfield Ave. S.W. about 2:30 a.m., where they found Pruitt’s body lying on the kitchen floor.

A neighbor had knocked on the door earlier and when there was no answer, found Pruitt inside the house. The woman called police, who confirmed that someone shot Pruitt multiple times.

Authorities charged Pruitt with possession of cocaine in 2004. He was sentenced to six months in jail and placed on probation for the charge, according to Trumbull County court records. In 2006, he was charged with failure to comply with police.

While police haven’t said drugs were involved in Tuesday’s homicide, neighbors said they knew the home was the site of drug and criminal activity. That drug activity is fueling an increase in criminal activity throughout the city.

“A lot of what we find, the reason for the theft offenses, the reason for the violence, is tied to the purchase, sale and use of illegal narcotic drugs, particularly heroin,” Warren Law Director Greg Hicks said.

Hicks said the nature of drug addiction means people become desperate and can turn to crime to support their habit. City police are trying to keep violent crime from increasing.

“We have a street crimes unit that is out there every day trying their best to control, in what degree they can, but it is such an epidemic proportion that it is very difficult to stay ahead of,” Hicks said.

Police say the heroin epidemic continues to rise.

Warren police do not yet have a suspect and are asking the public for help in finding more information.

“Went to the scene, collected what evidence we could. At this point, we really need the public to step up. We really have no witnesses at this point. We only received one call,” Warren Police detective Nick Carney said. “The neighbors report that as being a problem house with drug activity. Hopefully, someone will call us and give us some sort of tip, a lead, a name, anything.”

Anyone with information about the crime can call the detective bureau at 330-841-2660.

It is the city’s fifth homicide of the year.

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