16-year-old shot to death in Youngstown

By William K. Alcorn



An autopsy was scheduled today on the body of 16-year-old Brandon Adkins, a Chaney High School sophomore, who was shot and killed late Saturday night on South Avenue.

Youngstown police questioned witnesses at the scene but said Sunday there were no known suspects.

Adkins’ death, if ruled a homicide by the Mahoning County coroner, would be the sixth murder in 2011 to date compared with 13 as of June 19, 2010.

According to the police report, witnesses reported hearing several shots about 11:30 p.m. in the 3100 block of South Avenue. A large group of people gathered at the scene, causing police to call for back-up units. The victim was believed to have lived on nearby East Philadelphia Avenue, according to a coroner’s investigator.

Victoria Allen, president of the I.C.U. Blockwatch, one of 14 block-watch programs in the Seventh Ward, lives on Lucius Avenue near where the shooting occurred.

She said she heard four shots.

After doing a “kid count” or her children and neighborhood children, she walked to South Avenue arriving about the same time as police and Rural-Metro ambulance personnel.

“I didn’t know him (the victim) personally, but he lives in my block-watch area,” Allen said.

“I don’t think he was shot where he was found in the driveway of a home because police found no shell casings. I think he was shot somewhere else and ran there,” she said. “I saw blood pooling. I was maybe five feet from him.”

There were just a few people at the scene at first, but once they covered the body and people realized he was dead, the situation became chaotic, Allen said.

The body was there for about two hours before it was removed. About 100 people stood near the scene by that time, she said.

This is another unfortunate murder in the city, said 7th Ward Councilman John R. Swierz.

“I really truly believe we have a full-fledged crime and violence problem in the city. We need to identify the root causes, which could be anything from families to the educational system to the jobless rate. Once we identify what is creating juvenile crime and violence, then we need to put a plan together to curb it,” Swierz said.

“It might take the entire community... everybody has to be involved in identifying it,” he said.

“Any death is too much, but it seems like these deaths are senseless. We have teens roaming the neighborhoods breaking into houses and cars... we have to stop these kind of activities. People are leaving the city because of the fear factor,” Swierz said.

The councilman said this is not just a problem in Youngstown. It is in many urban cities in the nation.

Allen said her block watch will meet at 7 p.m. today at 2536 South Ave. She said the latest killing will undoubtedly be the main topic of conversation.

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