Double homicide unsettles Liberty
SHOOTING SCENE: This is the home at 3022 Northgate Drive, Liberty Township, where a woman and a female juvenile were found shot to death late Sunday. The names of the victims were not released Monday.
By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR. and LINDA M. LINONIS
Police have not released the victims’ names.
LIBERTY — Counselors will be available at Liberty schools today to console children shaken by the shooting death of one of their fellow students and a woman.
Mark Lucas, schools superintendent, said grief counseling, available to students Monday, will continue today and as needed. “The district has a plan in place for these circumstances,” he said. He said Trumbull County Educational Services Center assists districts with counseling. “There’s no time limit on counseling,” Lucas said, noting that some students react initially and others later on.
Counseling takes place on a one-on-one basis and in groups, he said, to help students deal with the trauma.
The double homicide occurred late Sunday at 3022 Northgate Drive in the southern part of the township. The victims, who police so far have refused to identify, were new in the neighborhood, a neighbor said.
Paul Franklin, who lives across the street from 3022 Northgate, said the family members there generally kept to themselves and did not cause any problems in the neighborhood.
At a press conference Monday, police Capt. Toby A. Meloro and Pat Ungaro, township administrator, confirmed the shooting victims were an adult woman and female juvenile. Police said the two were related, but they did not specify the relationship. The juvenile was enrolled in the school district.
Meloro said the 911 call on the shooting came in about 11:15 p.m. Sunday. He said he asked the Trumbull County prosecutor’s homicide task force for assistance.
Meloro described the neighborhood as basically a quiet one.
Neighbors in the Northgate Drive neighborhood remain baffled at the turn of events inside the one-floor duplex Sunday night. The house remained blocked with yellow police caution tape Monday afternoon. The only sign that someone lived at the address was a child’s play car sitting near the front entrance.
Franklin said he spent time at the house where the bodies were found because he was friends with a man living at the address, though he did not know the female victim’s name.
He said the man lived in the home with the woman who was killed and as many as seven children. Franklin said he believes the victims were mother and daughter.
He had no idea anything was wrong until hearing a firetruck outside late Sunday evening. “Nobody knows nothing about what happened. We are all still trying to figure it all out,” Franklin said. “This surprises me here in Liberty.”
Tina, Kevin and Joe, neighbors living a few houses away from 3022 Northgate and who did not want to give their last names, said they were in bed Sunday evening when they heard what sounded like a car door slamming or a muffled gunshot. Shortly after hearing the sound, Tina saw someone run through the rear yard to her home, she said.
The neighbors said police lights and sirens were on the block minutes after the unidentified person ran through the yards.
Joe said he was not close to the shooting victims but did see a young girl on several occasions and believes the girl to have been about 12 to 15 years old.
Tina said the incident has left the entire neighborhood shaken.
“In this neighborhood we all pretty much watch out for each other, and you just don’t see this stuff. I have neighbors talking about moving because this was too close to home,” she said.
The last murder in the township was in the 1990s, police said.