YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Youngstown police responded to a South Side shooting Thursday night that left a man dead.
It happened in the parking lot of Teenie’s Tavern on South Avenue around 9:30 p.m. What has police most concerned about the city’s 10th homicide of the year is that the victim was chosen at random.
Witnesses said two men approached a vehicle in the parking lot and demanded money. When the person in the vehicle refused, guns were drawn and shots fired.
“The victim did resist and that’s what led to the shooting. I’m not saying that it might not have happened anyway, but there was a brief confrontation,” Youngstown Police Chief Robin Lees said.
A 40-year-old man was shot at least three times, twice in the arm and once in the stomach, according to reports. Police said after reviewing surveillance video from the bar, they are looking for two male suspects in their 20s.
The victim was taken to St. Elizabeth Health Center, where he underwent surgery late Thursday. However, police said the victim died Friday morning.
“At this point, I can’t go into the details of the investigation but what I can tell you is the victim resisted. And again, as anybody involved in any type of crime prevention can tell you, it’s certainly better to hand over your wallet, your purse, the money, whatever else is involved, rather than giving up your life in a struggle over that,” Lees said.
The police chief made his comments at a business summit at a church just blocks from where the armed robbery occurred. The pastor of the church said his congregation is in the middle of one of the city’s roughest neighborhoods.
“Our area is probably one of the most challenged areas of the city, if not the most, which is evidenced by some of the crime we see, the homicides. The good news is homicides are down,” M. Mike McNair, pastor of Metro Assembly of God, said.
Homicides are down from last year. At this time in 2013, there were 12 murders. This year there have been 10 and Lees said half of them have happened in the last month.
He said police have cut down on retaliatory crimes.
“We found a body in an empty lot. The next day, we had three people in custody and there was no attached violence,” Lees said.
Rev. McNair said people are starting to respond to the efforts being made by many churches, including his own.
“We have established what our pastor has called ‘adopt-a-block,’ and this has been several years of going into the neighborhoods, connecting with them, cleaning, doing what needs to be done, to let them know we’re not just here as a building. We are here as real neighbors,” McNair said.
Police have not released the victim’s name, saying they are having a hard time tracking down his family in West Virginia.