By jeanne starmack
Police continued to search for suspects in a Friday night homicide as family and friends mourned the victim, 20-year-old Anthony Harrison.
Loved ones remembered him Tuesday — and reflected on the near-riot that followed his shooting near Tremble Avenue and Thirteenth Street.
He was well-known and liked in the community, they said. He lived on Chambers Street with his mother and worked as a stock boy at the Save-A-Lot on U.S. Route 422. He was planning to go to the New Castle School of Trades to become an electrician.
“Anthony was a good kid,” said his grandmother, Ana Santana Soto.
He did not have a car, so he walked everywhere, waving and smiling even at people he didn’t know that well, said family members. He was walking home from the Sta. Rosa de Lima Church Festival on Tenney Avenue with a friend around 10:15 p.m. when he was shot in the back. His friend was shot in the leg and survived.
Police are still at a loss for suspects and a motive, Campbell Detective Sgt. John Rusnak said Tuesday.
At the crime scene Friday, word of mouth had spread quickly, and a large crowd, mainly family and friends of Harrison’s, grew to between 60 and 80 people. A police report says people made threats and demanded to know why nothing was being done with Harrison’s body.
Rusnak said police tried to explain that they were waiting for the coroner. The body was covered, and the coroner arrived within a reasonable time, he said.
Some singled out a particular police officer, Dan Burich, so much so that Burich finally left the scene, the report says. Campbell called police from other jurisdictions.
Neighbor Chuck Schultz, who watched the episode unfold from his porch across the street, said that seemed to make the crowd madder.
Police from six neighboring communities parked along Thirteenth Street, as did people in the crowd. That area turned out to be part of the crime scene, and it was contaminated. Police later found seven shell casings there, Rusnak said.
It took about 40 minutes to control the crowd, Rusnak estimated.
Family members and friends said emotions were high, and the police weren’t sympathetic.
“Everybody was crying,” said Berlinda Soto, Harrison’s aunt. She said she asked where her nephew was, but police would not answer. “They looked at me like, ‘I’m not talking,’” she said.
“Lots of people have problems with cops around here,” she added. “I told them that night, ‘You stop everybody for nothing.’ People feel like they’re being hassled for no reason.”
Family members said Harrison was stopped a month ago while walking near his home because there had been a robbery in the area. He did not deserve that treatment, and it fueled the anger at the crime scene, they said.
Harrison’s mother, Teresa Soto, said police found marijuana on him during a traffic stop about a year ago.
That, she said, was the only incident he’d had with police, and he learned his lesson from it.
Rusnak said police do not profile people. “If you have an unsafe vehicle, you’re going to get stopped.”
He also defended the silence of police at the crime scene, saying the shooter still could have been there. He also said a family member might try to rush to the body. “I have a crime scene to process,” he said.
Police found two sweat jackets and two handguns behind a building on Tremble. Rusnak said he gave the evidence to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.
Harrison’s funeral is Saturday at Sterling- McCullough Williams Funeral Home, 632 Belmont Ave. in Youngstown. Calling hours are 9 to 10 a.m., and the funeral begins at 11 a.m. Instead of flowers, the family requests donations for funeral expenses. They can be given at the funeral home, or check with First National Bank.
On Tremble, a memorial has sprung up with a mix of stuffed animals, pictures and bottles of beer.
Craig Bembery, a friend, was one of many who stopped by. “He was like a brother,” Bembery said.
Schultz didn’t know Harrison well. But he’d seen him around, and he’d gotten those waves and smiles. He started the memorial, he said, with a few candles.