One victim was caught in crossfire at a corner store.
By PATRICIA MEADE
VINDICATOR CRIME REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN — William Burr witnessed the shooting death of a brother last December — and now he’s dead from multiple gunshots.
Within six hours, gunfire claimed the lives of Burr, 27, of East Midlothian Boulevard, Struthers, and Rodney M. Brown, 45, of Devon Avenue. Detectives have a person of interest, a South Side gang member, in the Burr homicide.
Burr was hit multiple times in the 3200 block of South Avenue around 8 p.m. Sunday as he sat in his red Chevrolet Cavalier. He got out and ran, collapsing behind Angelo’s Pizza Shop. He died later at St. Elizabeth Health Center.
A surveillance camera recorded a young man leaving the pizza shop, approaching and then reaching into the red Cavalier. The recording also shows his arm jerk, possibly from firing a handgun, reports show.
Capt. Kenneth Centorame, chief of detectives, said detectives and members of the gang unit reviewed the video in an effort to positively identify the young man — the person of interest.
Centorame said Burr’s being a witness to his brother’s homicide is being looked at as a motive in his death. Anthony Perez, 31, was shot to death Dec. 30, 2006, on Clearmount Avenue while he and Burr (sometimes know as Michael Perez) were detailing a car. Police said several men approached and opened fire over car theft accusation.
Brothers Darrin Davis, 17, and Reshaud Biggs, 21, both of East Florida Avenue, are charged in Anthony Perez’s slaying. Davis was arrested in January and Biggs in February. A pretrial hearing is set for Aug. 2 in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
At 2:15 a.m. Monday, about six hours after Burr was shot on the South Side, Brown was the victim of a drive-by shooting in the Speed Check parking lot at 1050 McGuffey Road at the corner of Albert Street on the East Side. Brown, shot in his upper left leg, was found under a light pole, lying in a pool of blood.
Reports show Brown was caught in a crossfire of a hail of bullets. At least two dozen casings fired from several weapons were collected at the scene.
Police talked to three witnesses who described at least three vehicles involved. One witness said shots came from a dark blue car traveling south on Albert Street. Another said shots were fired from a black car.
A third witness said shots came from a gold car as it drove by the Speed Check, with the shooter aiming at other cars and a crowd gathered outside the convenience store.
City firefighters first on the scene provided medical assistance to Brown until an ambulance arrived. He died later at St. Elizabeth’s. A female friend who had been in his car was checked out at the hospital, Centorame said.
Members of Brown’s family gathered on a shady porch at his home Monday afternoon to mourn. His mother, Rosalie Brown, said he was a good son. She last saw him about four hours before the shooting.
His niece, Anissa Brown, 33, said a fund has been established in the names Galen Roberts and Keren Jones at National City Bank to help pay funeral expenses. She said donations can be made to any of the bank’s branches.
“He was a real good guy, liked fishing and was a jack of all trades,” Anissa Brown said of her uncle. “He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was such a senseless death.”
Brown’s sister, 43-year-old Ronci Brown, sifted through photos she’d taken of him and others. She said he bled to death waiting for help.
“The ones who did this, they just pick up and go on while my family’s mourning. I want people to stop and think before they act,” Anissa Brown said. “They should put themselves in the [victim’s] family’s shoes. It’s sad, just sad.”
Burr’s and Brown’s deaths are the city’s 16th and 17th homicides of the year. There were 14 homicides at this time last year.