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YOUNGSTOWN 2 men in hospital after shootings



Published: Mon, January 21, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The shootings happened at about the same time.

YOUNGSTOWN -- Police are investigating two shootings that took place at two popular neighboring nightspots on the city's South Side. The shootings may be related.

According to police reports, 26-year-old Eric Ballard of Youngstown was shot five times in the arm, chest and stomach outside Fran's Hilltop II on Hillman Street just after 2 a.m. Sunday.

Mother's account: Reports say Ballard's mother told officers she was outside the business and stopped to give her son a hug before leaving. As the mother and son finished talking, two men approached them from the direction of Larry's Lounge, which is also on Hillman Street a short distance from Fran's, reports say.

The woman said she started to walk off then heard several gunshots and turned around in time to see Ballard running to his car. He was driven by a friend to St. Elizabeth Health Center, where he was in critical condition Sunday.

The woman said the two men ran back in the direction of Larry's Lounge.

Second shooting: At about the same time in the Larry's Lounge parking lot, Clifford Cross of Warren was shot in the upper leg. Reports say Cross told officers he was "jumped" by two guys in the parking lot.

Eventually, Cross fell to the ground in an attempt to shield his body from the attack, according to reports. Cross told officers that while he was on the ground, the men continued to kick and punch him, then one of the men pulled a gun and shot him.

Cross was taken to St. Elizabeth's, where he was in stable condition Sunday.

Witnesses at the bar told police the men who shot Cross got into a light-colored car and fired shots in the air as they drove away. Police said the shootings could be related.




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