YPD seeks suspect in South Side shooting death

By David Skolnick



Police are looking for a 26-year-old man they say killed his neighbor during an argument that turned violent.

Police have witnesses who said they saw Walter Drake of Hilton Avenue shoot Dion Weatherspoon, 24, Drake’s neighbor, outside the suspect’s house, said Det. Sgt. Rick Spotleson, the case’s lead investigator.

A warrant for a charge of murder was filed against Drake, said police Lt. Doug Bobovnyik.

The murder occurred at Drake’s house at 246 Hilton Ave. on the city’s South Side about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Spotleson said. Weatherspoon was found lying dead in Drake’s driveway with six bullet holes in him.

It started as an argument, possibly about a theft, Spotleson said.

It was the city’s 15th homicide of the year.

Police Chief Rod Foley has said eight of the previous 14 homicides were the result of people feeling someone was being disrespectful to them. The Weatherspoon murder fits that pattern, Spotleson said.

Drake should be considered armed and dangerous, Bobovnyik said.

Drake’s wife, whom he married in March, also is no longer at their house, but police said they’re not actively looking for her.

The couple’s house was significantly damaged by arson about 11 p.m. Thursday, said Fire Capt. Alvin Ware, chief fire investigator. “We suspect it’s connected to the shooting,” Ware said.

An empty one-gallon can of gas was found at the scene, and there was a strong odor of gas in the house, Ware said.

Damage to the house was estimated at $16,000.

Also, less than two hours after the murder, a 19-year-old woman who lives near Drake and Weatherspoon, was stabbed in what appears to be retaliation for the killing, police said.

The 19-year-old said six girls approached her at 1:19 p.m. Wednesday with one asking about the whereabouts of her cousin, meaning Weatherspoon, according to a police report.

The woman said the girls attacked her and she was stabbed eight times in the back, right side, right arm and left forearm, but she couldn’t say which girl stabbed her, the police report states.

Sydney Fields, 17, of Youngstown, was among the six girls, police said. When officers tried to stop her from leaving the scene, she punched them, though one officer was hit only with a glancing blow, police said.

Fields refused to stop fighting with an officer until he used a stinger gun to subdue her so she could be handcuffed, police said.

Police charged Fields with two counts of assault on a police officer and one count of resisting arrest. Her case is being handled by the Mahoning County Juvenile Justice Court.

The 19-year-old victim is in stable condition, police said.

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