Youngstown cops probe whether teen shot himself by accident
By John W. Goodwin Jr.
Police believe a teen shot on the North Side accidentally fired the fatal shot himself, but the gun he was carrying still has not been recovered.
Suadonte Wright, 14, of Tod Lane, was found near the intersection of Kensington Avenue and Tacoma Street on Monday evening dead of a gunshot wound to the head. He had been walking in the area with a 15-year-old teen with whom he lived.
Wright is the son of a man killed during the robbery of a Belmont Avenue restaurant in April of 2011. In that incident, Warren Wright, 32, was killed by an off-duty officer as he tried to rob the Galaxy Seafood restaurant at gunpoint.
Police report that Suadonte Wright and the other teen were walking down Kensington just before 9 p.m. Monday. The pair spoke to a woman sitting on a porch along Kensington and kept walking, but the woman told police she heard two gunshots shortly after the teens walked by, then saw Wright lying in the street.
No gun was found on or near Wright when police arrived on the scene, police said.
The teen walking with Wright was seen running down Kensington shortly after the shots were heard by witnesses.
Police initially were looking at the shooting as a homicide, but that changed early in the investigation when officers spoke to the teen, whose identity was not revealed in the police report.
Detective Sgt. Daryl Martin said investigators are waiting on a gunshot-residue test and a few other pieces of evidence, but it appears Wright may have shot himself accidentally.
“It looks like an accident. We don’t think he was trying to kill himself, but it looks like he was playing with the gun and that is what happened,” said Martin.
Martin said the teen walking with Wright was seen running after the shooting because he panicked and ran home to get help when the gun went off. Police spoke to the boy and said his account of what took place does match the evidence gathered by police, pointing to an accidental shooting.
Martin said the gun Wright is believed to have been carrying has not been recovered, but a large crowd of people gathered at the scene before police arrived and the gun could have been taken by anyone in the crowd.
Police recovered three spent shell casings at the scene of the shooting — one near Wright’s foot and two closer to the Tacoma/ Kensington intersection.
Wright’s police record shows that he was taken into custody earlier this year for a fight at P. Ross Berry Eighth and Ninth Grade Academy, where he was a student. According to police, he was part of a large group of kids involved in a fight Jan. 23.
The city schools crisis team of counselors since first thing Tuesday morning has been at P. Ross Berry, where Suadonte was in ninth grade, said Karen Ingraham, school district spokeswoman.
Wright also was arrested as the primary aggressor in an attack on a mother and son in 2011. He was charged with assault and criminal damaging and taken to the Martin P. Joyce Juvenile Justice Center.
In the South Side attack, Wright was walking and kicked the door of a passing car. A 19-year-old man inside the car reportedly got out of the car to inspect the damage and ask Wright why he kicked the car. He was attacked by a group of teens, thrown to the ground and repeatedly kicked and punched.
The 52-year-old mother of the man being attacked got out of the car in an attempt to stop the group from beating her son, but she, too, was attacked.
Wright was not convicted of any wrongdoing in the fight at school or the attack on the mother and son. Both cases against him were pending in juvenile court at the time of his death.