By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR,
The city’s top cop says the three murders here in the span of a week are unrelated and do not indicate an upswing in violence.
Joshua T. Davis, 17, of 135 Willis Ave., was found shot in the left cheek and upper right groin at his home Sept. 17. Five days later, 22-year-old Quest Wagoner of Inverness Avenue, was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head on a living room couch in his home, and this past weekend Duane L. Colvin, 32, with a last known address of East Florida Avenue was found dead in a South Side field.
A suspect was arrested Monday in connection with Wagoner’s death, police said. There have been no arrests in the other two cases
Chief Rod Foley, Youngstown police, said homicides are unpredictable and sometimes happen in spurts regardless what police procedures are in place. He said it is important to realize that the overall homicide trend in the city is down, and there are fewer homicides in 2011 than in 2010 at this time.
Colvin is the city’s 14th homicide in 2011. There were 17 homicides at this time last year.
“These three homicides are all unrelated; that is for sure,” said Foley. “The homicide rate is unpredictable. These are individuals who have beefs with each other and are fighting amongst themselves. It is unfortunate that this is how they are settling their differences.”
Foley said the latest murder victims were known to law enforcement and that may be the key to curbing some of the violence.
Colvin made news in 1996 as a 16-year-old when Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court sentenced him to between 371/2 years and 90 years in prison for a string of crimes including aggravated robberies and escape from the Martin P. Joyce Juvenile Justice Center.
A representative of the court said Krichbaum did not order any early release from prison for Colvin.
Colvin did go before the Adult Parole Authority in 2009. An unidentified representative in that office confirmed that Colvin was placed on parole in December 2009 and released from parole in December of 2010.
Yashieya Colvin, Duane’s sister, said her brother committed his crimes as a wayward juvenile and had made changes in his life since being released from jail. She said her brother had become a father, gotten engaged and moved to a different state. He was only here visiting, she said.
“He served his time and made a change. He was a good man, a good friend and everything to his family,” the grieving sister said. “He was trying to better himself, but just getting off of parole it was hard.”
Yashieya Colvin believes her brother’s murder was personal and had nothing to do with any past or present crimes.
Wagoner, too, had prior run-ins with law enforcement including having been the victim of a previous shooting and a felonious assault and being arrested on an aggravated burglary charge. He also had faced charges for domestic violence and criminal damaging.
Foley said that because many of the victims of crime have repeated contact with law enforcement, police can arrest them on smaller crimes to get them off the streets even if for a short time, thus saving lives — maybe even the lives of the offenders.
Foley said the department is trying to increase contact with those would-be victims and perpetrators by increasing police activity levels in various parts of the city. He said the increased activity will mean that officers can make the arrest for smaller offenses.
Foley said the department has achieved savings by cutting overtime, but said that decrease in overtime is in the elimination of the sixth workday and will not mean a decrease in police presence. He said there will be an increased police presence because officers are being taken off other details and placed back on patrol.