Thursday, July 22, 2004
'He was doomed,' said the brother of the man police suspect in the shooting.
By SHERRI L. SHAULIS
and NICOLE HUGHES
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
NILES -- A little more than 30 minutes after calling police to report her ex-boyfriend threatened to kill her, 21-year-old Erica Mechling was dead.
The 43-year-old man police say was responsible for the shooting died at St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown hours later from wounds apparently suffered when he was shot by officers as he tried to flee.
Mechling, of Wood Street, had called police around 8:15 a.m. Wednesday saying her ex-boyfriend -- James Fambro-Wade -- had called, upset that they had broken up and that she had another boyfriend.
"He said he would kill her if she would not go back with him," the report said.
Police logs showed officers arrived minutes later at the Wood Street address -- where Mechling lived with her parents, 14-year-old sister, 18-year-old brother and 23-month-old daughter. Police took a report and advised Mechling to contact the city prosecutor to file charges. Police left just before 8:30 a.m.
By 9 a.m., a female from the residence called 911 and reported Mechling had been shot. Police arrived within two minutes and found Mechling lying in the front yard of a neighbor's home, bleeding from the head and neck. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Capt. Guy Simeone said officers spotted a black male with a gun fleeing the area and gave chase. Simeone confirmed that at least two Niles officers fired their weapons, but he was unsure who fired first.
Investigators from Niles, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification and the Trumbull County Homicide Task Force spent most of the day Wednesday gathering evidence and conducting interviews at the scene.
Simeone declined to identify the male suspect, saying the family had not been notified, but a man who identified himself as Fambro-Wade's brother confirmed it was him.
Fambro-Wade's brother said he had received a phone call from someone else giving him few details about the situation.
When asked about his brother, the man would only comment that he "loved him, that's the bottom line."
"Let's put it this way -- he was doomed," the man added when questioned about the relationship between his brother and Mechling.
A spokeswoman from St. Elizabeth's confirmed that Fambro-Wade had died from his injuries, but had no other details. The Mahoning County Coroner's office was scheduled to conduct an autopsy on Fambro-Wade, and the Trumbull County Coroner's office was set to perform an autopsy on Mechling sometime today.
Police reports say Fambro-Wade had made previous threats to Mechling and her current boyfriend.
Mechling and a 22-year-old Niles man called police Monday evening saying Fambro-Wade came to their workplace at Niles Manufacturing and threatened to kill each of them.
A woman who answered the phone at Niles Manufacturing on Wednesday declined to comment.
Reports said Fambro-Wade was gone by the time police arrived, and Mechling and the other man were advised to contact the city prosecutor about filing charges.
A check of records in Niles Municipal Court showed no protection order had been filed by either individual, but records from Trumbull County Common Pleas Court show Mechling had filed Jan. 14 for a civil protection order against Fambro-Wade, but requested it be dropped Jan. 27.