Vicinity of Campbell homicide called safe

By Jeanne Starmack


The public-housing complex in Campbell is relatively safe despite a fatal shooting there Wednesday, police and the housing authority director say.

James Hills, 47, was shot about 8:15 p.m. and died later at St. Elizabeth Health Center.

Police said Friday they still have no suspect in the case, and they do not know a motive for the shooting.

Hills was shot in the parking lot of the Youngstown Metropolitan Housing Authority offices at the Kirwan Homes complex on Jackson Street.

He was walking home from his girlfriend’s apartment on Jean Street to his own on Monroe Street. Both of those streets are in the complex.

Police said there were no witnesses, and Hills had no criminal record.

Hills’ girlfriend, Lakeisha Perry, said he was a “sweet man” who never bothered anyone.

His murder was the first in the city since 2010, and that murder occurred elsewhere in the city. Anthony Harrison, 20, was shot in August 2010 on Tremble Avenue near 13th Street as he was walking home from a church festival.

In fact, say Campbell Sgt. Dave Taybus and Carmelita Douglas, YMHA executive director, the Kirwan Homes have been quiet and relatively problem-free for years.

Perry and a neighbor, who did not want her name used, said Thursday that they believe there should be more security in the complex.

The neighbor said the street lights behind her apartment on Jean Street have not worked, and it is pitch-black there.

Campbell police patrol the complex as a regular part of their city rounds, Taybus said, and YMHA also pays them for extra patrols.

The two-man patrols take place from 3 to 7 p.m., 9 to 11 p.m. and 11 p.m. to 2 a.m., he said.

Hills’ murder happened between those patrols.

Taybus also said police can alter their patrol schedule to cover times when there are more problems.

“Whenever we hear there’s more problems, even the road cars would put more time in that area,” he said.

He said it would be up to YMHA to pay for more scheduled patrols, a move executive director Douglas called “cost-prohibitive.”

She said the authority pays overtime hours for the added patrols, and they cost $100,000 for the Kirwan Homes this year.

Douglas and Taybus both said the Kirwan Homes have calmed down considerably.

“It has vastly improved,” Douglas said. “Calls for [police] service have been at a minimum.”

“When I first started in 1995 and for six to seven years after, there were a lot of calls,” Taybus said.

He attributes the calmer atmosphere in the complex to better tenant screening.

He and Douglas said YMHA has a full-time security staffer who patrols and also follows up after police calls to talk to tenants involved. There is also a no-trespassing policy there, they noted.

People who are found to be in the complex without a good reason are placed on a no-trespassing list and banned, Taybus said. He said tenants who are evicted and on that list can ask the housing authority for permission to go in if they have family or friends still living there.

Douglas said she would send someone immediately to check on the street lights behind the Jean Street apartments.

She said tenants who discover problems like that need to let the authority know by filing a work order.

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