Youngstown mayor plans multi-front assault on gun violence in city

Staff report


In the aftermath of a weekend shooting that left a 17-year-old girl dead and a star football player critically injured, Mayor Jay Williams pledged Sunday night the city will swiftly crack down on gun violence.

The mayor spoke out after the shooting of Jamel Turner, a talented but troubled athlete, and the killing of 17-year-old Tracy Banks early Saturday on the city’s West Side.

Police said they have a suspect in the shootings, but no arrests had been made as of Sunday night. Some media reports said the suspect had an argument with his girlfriend shortly before the shooting at 3:23 a.m. Saturday at 63 Manchester Ave.

Police are also being tight-lipped about Banks, who was found on the living room floor with multiple gunshot wounds. She was baby-sitting a 4-year-old girl.

Keith Gunther, the head boys basketball coach at Ursuline High School, said those that know Turner and his family would not comment until his medical condition is better known.

Turner was taken to St. Elizabeth Medical Center, where he had been listed in critical condition Saturday night. The hospital would not give an update on his condition Sunday.

The city, in cooperation with federal authorities, will embark on the Violence-Gun Reduction Interdiction Program to clear guns from the city’s streets this summer, Williams said. Last month, Youngstown Police Chief Jimmy Hughes and Williams said that combining resources with the feds will ultimately mean more guns off the streets and longer prison sentences for those using guns to commit crimes.

Hughes said any collaborative effort will afford local police the opportunity to seek stiffer punishments for gun crimes by prosecuting criminals under federal statutes.

The culture of crime and violence, the mayor said, “just brings tragedy.”

“People can be measured by where they go and who their friends are,” Williams added Sunday night.

On Manchester Avenue, where Saturday morning’s shootings took place, neighbors are mum but say they look out for one another.

A woman who lives down the street said she had an outdoor party that night.

“We heard the shots,” she said.

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