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POLICE Chief: Stop may have prevented homicide



Published: Thu, July 7, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



A man accused of assault was arrested after speeding through a stop sign.

By PATRICIA MEADE

VINDICATOR CRIME REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Seizure of a loaded shotgun and a box of shells during a routine traffic stop on the East Side may have averted a homicide, the city's police chief says.

Matthew Lambert, 31, of Selma Avenue (formerly of Atkinson Avenue), was arraigned by video Wednesday in municipal court on charges of felonious assault, aggravated menacing, criminal damaging, mishandling a firearm in a motor vehicle and disobeying a traffic control device. Judge Elizabeth A. Kobly set bond at $220,000 and a preliminary hearing for July 14.

Lambert told the judge that his wife and her boyfriend are "making up fabrications" about him. The judge ordered that Lambert have no contact with his 30-year-old wife.

Bassil Ally, an assistant city prosecutor, told the judge that Lambert was convicted of domestic violence in January and has been convicted of carrying a concealed weapon. The prosecutor said the felonious assault charge involves Lambert ramming his wife's vehicle three times.

Tuesday arrest

"This arrest likely prevented a homicide," Police Chief Robert E. Bush Jr. said Wednesday. "He threatened to kill her."

Detective Sgt. Dave Lomax, who is investigating the case, said he firmly believes the officers who made the traffic stop saved the woman's life. "I can't imagine where else [Lambert] was going with all those shotgun shells."

The chief said the arrest shows that extra patrols on the East Side can be effective in quelling violence. Officers from specialized units were deployed to the East Side after a shootout last week that involved police.

Members of the Street Crimes Unit, Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force gang unit and bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said they saw Lambert's Oldsmobile Cutlass speed through the stop sign on Buckeye Court at Victor Street around 5 p.m. Tuesday. Police pulled the car over near Albert Street.

An open box of 12-gauge shotgun shells was found on the front seat and Lambert told police he had a shotgun in the trunk. A loaded shotgun, with one shell chambered and ready to fire, was seized from the trunk, reports show.

The gun charge from Tuesday evening was combined with felonious assault, menacing and criminal damaging charges from 3:30 a.m. Sunday.

Wife's reports

Lambert's wife told police that she and a male friend were in her 1997 Mercury Villager outside her sister's house on Crandall Avenue when they saw Lambert on a nearby corner. The woman said her husband threatened to kill her and wanted to fight the man she was with.

The woman said she and her friend drove off and headed for the police station downtown, during which time Lambert rammed her van three times with his car, reports show. He then drove off and his wife filed a domestic violence complaint.

After making the report, Lambert's wife drove to a house on Wirt Street and realized he had followed her, police said. She managed to get inside and lock the door.

The woman told police that her husband pounded on the door and then flattened a tire on her van parked in the driveway. She then filed a criminal damaging report with police.

Lomax said Lambert also told his wife June 30 that he would kill her and showed her where he would dispose of her body on abandoned property off Trussit Avenue.

meade@vindy.com




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