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Cops comb streets for shooter



Published: Thu, August 14, 2008 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Tim Yovich

Warren police continue to search for leads in the city’s latest homicide.

WARREN — The lead investigator in a bold daylight robbery and shooting death says the case has settled into old-fashioned police work – using a lot of shoe leather.

“We’re out rattling the cages,” Detective Wayne Mackey said of the Tuesday morning robbery of Freddie’s Diner on North Park Avenue along with the shooting death of co-owner Fred A. DeVengencie, 89, and serious wounding of his son and partner, 71-year-old Anthony DeVengencie.

Anthony DeVengencie remains in critical condition in St. Elizabeth Health Center after a bullet was removed from his jaw.

“It’s the old school now,” Mackey said Wednesday of police getting any information they can from the streets. “We’ve been on the streets, and going out again.”

Of course, Mackey is hoping that someone calls police to identify the murderer.

Police have set up a dragnet in an attempt to find the man who took money out of the cash register and from the DeVengencies and two employees.

Police expressed hope Tuesday afternoon that they had found the gunman holed up in a four-plex on North Park near Atlantic Street. A SWAT team armed with a search warrant crashed into the building, but the shooter wasn’t found.

A police dog and handler led officers from the diner, with the Sons of Italy in the same building, to the four-plex.

Mackey explained that it still isn’t known if one of the DeVengencies pulled a gun and the robber got hold of it during a struggle and opened fire. That will be determined by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, where the crime scene evidence will be sent.

DNA may play a role in solving the case. Police said the shooter suffered a gash on his head after being struck with a bottle.

In 2007, Warren police used a DNA match from a 13-year-old homicide to charge a former Cortland man with the rape and murder of a city woman.

The case went cold after the Jan. 15, 1994, shooting death of Priscilla Code, 48, who lived on Highland Avenue at the time.

Her murderer went unknown until 2007, when authorities sent DNA from the crime scene to Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS, a national computer database designed by the FBI to store the DNA profiles of convicted offenders.

All people who have been convicted of a felony after July 1, 1990, are required to provide a blood or cheek cell sample for DNA analysis.

In the Code case, DNA led to the identity of William Keith Gunther Jr., who was arrested in Miami, Fla. and returned to Warren.

In February, Gunther was sentenced to 13 to 28 years in prison by Judge Wyatt W. McKay of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court after Gunther pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

yovich@vindy.com


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