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Police officers report 6th killing in 10 days



Published: Thu, August 18, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The latest victim was found in a parking lot on the city's South Side.

By PATRICIA MEADE

VINDICATOR CRIME REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Ten days, six homicides.

An anonymous 911 call at 11:56 p.m. Tuesday led police to a parking lot at the southwest corner of Pyatt and Erie streets on the city's South Side. The male caller used a pay phone nearby at Jordan's Market, 1520 Market St.

Police found Matthew J. Saunders, 40, dead on the ground outside the driver's side door of his white 1991 two-door Ford Escort. The car's engine was still running, and both doors were wide open. The headlights were off.

Police said Saunders had been shot in the head.

Saunders is the city's 24th homicide of the year and the sixth in 10 days. There were 22 homicides in 2004 with 13 at this time last year.

Saunders' situation

Lt. Robin Lees said Detective Sgt. Daryl Martin learned that Saunders, who did computer work of some sort, no longer lived with his wife on East Florida Avenue. His current address wasn't immediately known.

Lees said Saunders apparently had no criminal record.

The car was towed and held for the crime lab.

The scene of the crime -- Pyatt and Erie streets -- has a reputation for drug and prostitution activity, but detectives aren't saying yet what the motive may have been, Lees said. The shooting didn't appear to follow a robbery.

Killing spree

The summer's killing spree began Aug. 7 when 19-year-old shooting victim Sierra Slaton was found floating in McKelvey Lake on the East Side. On Aug. 8, Michael S. Olenik, 28, was shot dead in his car downtown.

Next came James Rowles, 66, who was shot dead Aug. 10 at his North Side home, which was then set on fire. Late that afternoon, 40-year-old Harold Schuler was shot dead on the South Side. His brother, Elbert W. Schuler, 42, has been charged with the crime.

This past Sunday morning, 48-year-old Harold Dennis was shot dead on the South Side.




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