Woman hurt in confusion during gunfire

By Katie Seminara

YOUNGSTOWN — Kids enjoying the spring sunshine on the city’s South Side were rattled after late-morning gunfire Friday.

One or two shots were fired from a white Ford Expedition at a white Buick LeSabre on the 400 block of Evergreen Avenue, police said.

“It’s dangerous, because school’s out right now,” and summer is coming up, so kids are going to be playing outside, Youngstown Patrolman Russell Davis said.

The youths, who are on spring break, said they heard a gunshot, then saw a vehicle flee down the street.

“We found one shell casing,” Davis said.

No one was hit by the shots, but in the confusion and fear of the moment, a woman was run over while trying to escape the gunfire.

The woman, 41-year-old Roberta Thomas of Lucius Avenue, and her boyfriend, 38-year-old Freddie Taylor of Rosedale Avenue, were in the Buick when the shooting started.

According to police reports, Taylor told officers he purchased drugs from a man named James with a counterfeit $100, and James wanted to be properly paid for the transaction.

Taylor told officers he saw James while out driving with Thomas in the car. James, according to statements in police reports, followed Taylor, eventually pulling alongside his car and firing a shot.

Taylor tried to put the car in reverse, but Thomas got out of the car and was run over by a front tire of the Buick, reports said.

Taylor said he then got out of the car and ran, hearing one more shot fired as he fled.

Thomas was sent to St. Elizabeth Health Center with minor injuries and complaints of soreness. The hospital would not release any information on Thomas’ condition late Friday.

Numerous neighbors, who asked not to be identified, gathered outside on the sidewalk after the shooting to share their concerns.

One 78-year-old resident said the nicer weather brings more crime.

“Crime is increasing and getting closer to home,” the resident said.

“A stray bullet could have hit one of these kids,” the resident said, adding, “I’m a little leery about standing outside.”

The resident, as well as others, fear the city’s budget struggles are going to result in fewer police patrols.

Police are still investigating Wednesday’s homicide that took place near the F&N Market and Saborico’s Corner Market and Cafe on the 1300 block of Shehy Street on the city’s East Side.

Tommy D. Jones, 32, of Gypsy Lane, died after being shot four times, and 23-year-old Mister Jackson of South Jackson Street also was shot and was last reported in critical condition at St. Elizabeth’s.

The hospital also would not provide any information on Jackson’s condition Friday.

No arrests have been made, but Detective Sgt. Pat Kelly said people have been brought in for questioning.


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