City police picked up a teenage suspect in the city’s 10th homicide of the year while conducting Operation Shield — a citywide law-enforcement sweep focusing on problem areas.
Police Chief Rod Foley said officers arrested Kyle Patrick, 17, of Midland Avenue on Saturday afternoon. The teenager is charged with aggravated robbery and aggravated murder.
Foley said Patrick was known by law- enforcement officials.
“He does have a criminal history but has never been arrested for anything like this,” Foley said. “He has been known to carry a firearm.”
Michael Abighanem, 27, of Thalia Street, was shot after he and a friend went to a house on Silliman Street on the West Side around 4:30 p.m. Friday so Abighanem could sell a video-game system and a laptop computer. Police are calling the murder a robbery gone bad.
Patrick was a suspect in a burglary in the city as recent as March. Police records include reports listing Patrick going back to at least when he was 14.
Reports list Patrick as a suspect in an act of aggravated menacing in March. He reportedly argued with an 18-year-old girl on Halls Heights, became angry and fired a shot into the air.
Reports say Patrick was arrested for a separate aggravated menacing in July 2011 after he and a group of other teens were in an argument with a homeowner on Mayfield Avenue. One of the teens lifted his shirt as if to indicate he had a gun.
Patrick also was arrested for burglary in July 2011. Patrick and several others also are listed as suspects in a 2010 aggravated robbery where a 16-year-old boy was beaten and robbed of $30. Someone, allegedly, pulled a gun on the teen victim.
Police reports also show a 2009 burglary report where Patrick is listed as a suspect.
Patrick also has been listed in reports as a victim of assault several times and a victim of burglary.
Foley said the investigation into the homicide is ongoing, and police may be making an additional arrest soon. He said anyone involved may have been looking to steal merchandise.
“The problem they are going to have if they are involved in this is that they all planned this robbery. It resulted in a murder. Now, they are all tied into this murder together, whether you pulled the trigger or not,” the chief said.
Foley said Patrick was arrested in a joint effort with juvenile probation officers during Operation Shield over the weekend. Officers spent two days targeting the city’s high-problem areas for stepped-up enforcement.
The joint operation involved city police, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the FBI, Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force, Mahoning County Juvenile Probation Department, Ohio Adult Parole Authority, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Marshals Office, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation and the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force.
Foley said the increased presence lets the public know that police are active and working to keep neighborhoods safe.
“This sends the message to the bad guys that we are out there looking at them particularly, and it lets the community know that we are trying to be proactive and keep peace in these neighborhoods,” Foley added.
Officers in the operation conducted 407 traffic stops, arrested 48 people, issued 33 tickets, issued 216 warnings, confiscated $1,196 and recovered seven guns with arrests of those carrying the weapons.
Foley said getting those illegal guns off the streets is a matter of top importance to police.
“We want to emphasize gun arrest. Even on a traffic stop [we] look for a gun in that car or on that person,” he said.
The chief said he also wants to start a program to reward officers who recover at least five illegal guns during a year.