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LIBERTY Cops seek suspect in shooting



Published: Thu, February 28, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The intersection was blocked off so the crime scene could be processed by investigators.

By TIM YOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

LIBERTY -- Police were looking for one suspect and trying to determine a motive in a shooting this morning that left a woman dead and a man hospitalized.

Liberty Police Chief Anthony Slifka said the victims were shot in the head in the front seat of a van about 7 a.m. near the BP gas station at Gypsy Lane and Belmont Avenue.

The victims' identities were being withheld this morning until relatives are notified.

The man, who was in critical condition in St. Elizabeth Health Center, is in his 30s and is from Youngstown.

The woman is about the same age, but Slifka would not say where she lives.

Slifka said a witness reported seeing two men, who appeared to be looking for something on the van's floor, before the shots were fired.

Police had found at least one spent casing but no weapon as of 9:30 a.m.

By 8 a.m., the woman's body was still slumped over the driver's side of a dark blue Dodge minivan.

Fired from inside: Slifka said the van was westbound on Gypsy when a gunman in the back seat opened fire, striking both victims in the back of the head.

The van stopped in the right turn lane on Gypsy, just east of the intersection and in front of one of the gas station's driveways.

People at the scene who police talked to early said they did not see anybody leave the van.

Police have some leads that Slifka expected to develop through the morning.

Authorities blocked the intersection to allow investigators from the Trumbull County Sheriff's Department to process the scene.

At gas station: Employees at the nearby gas station told police they did not hear any shots.

Connie Hull of Vernon Township, an assistant manager at the station, said she didn't hear anything because of the noise of a fan inside.

She said a nurse came into the station after spotting two people slumped over in the van's front seats, and after Hull called police, other customers came in to tell her the two had been shot.




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