Police have identified the city’s latest murder victim as a member of the H-Block South Side street gang, but are not yet sure if that gang affiliation led to his murder.
Residents in the 200 block of Avondale Avenue called police early Sunday after finding an SUV sitting in the driveway of vacant house in that block. The driver’s-side window had been shot out, and inside was the body of Tamarick “B-Bop” Moore, 18, of Alameda Avenue.
Officials are not sure whether the shooting occurred Sunday morning or sometime late Saturday or why Moore was at the Avondale address, but police are saying that Moore’s name appears on a list of known H-Block members.
Police Chief Rod Foley said the 25-member gang has been a headache for police in the past.
“We have been targeting them all summer and they have been behaving themselves until now. We don’t know if this was retaliation or something else. ... We have our feelers out there,” he said.
Foley said Moore was brought in along with 17 others who were members of or affiliated with South Side gangs in August during a “call-in” aimed at curbing violence.
“We’re trying to give them a way out, and if they don’t choose that way, we’ll give them a long sentence,” Foley said at that time.
Foley said police have stepped up enforcement on the gang this year especially after another known member of the H-Block Gang, 24-year-old Dion Weatherspoon was gunned down on Hilton Avenue earlier in the summer. Police have charged 26-year-old Walter Drake with Weatherspoon’s murder, saying the two men were engaged in an argument when the shooting took place.
Police have also arrested several members of the H-Block Gang this year. O’Keefe Brown, Frankie “Tank” Hudson Jr., Deon Sanders and Ruben Joel “Pilo” Sanchez Jr. are charged with multiple counts of robbery, aggravated robbery with firearm specifications, illegal possession of weapons and participating in a criminal gang.
A total of 16 counts are against each of the men.
Foley said members of the H-Block Gang have been known to retaliate with violence. Evidence of this may be seen in the Weatherspoon case. Drake’s Hilton Avenue home, where Weatherspoon was killed, had been torched, vandalized, looted and has since been torn down.
Foley said the police department will not tolerate retaliatory measures and will be watching for anyone who may be out looking for retaliation.
“We are going to be out there. It is time to put the troops back out again and be on top of everything they [H-Block] do,” said Foley. “H-Block is known to retaliate so we are putting on the full-court press, making sure we quell any retaliation so we can figure out what happened out there.”
Despite his gang affiliation, Moore had not been arrested as an adult. He was arrested as a 16-year-old juvenile for disorderly conduct after a disturbance at the WRTA bus terminal downtown the day before his birthday in 2011. He, along with several other juveniles, were also people of interest in the shooting of a vacant house on the South Side in 2009.
The Avondale home where Moore was murdered is vacant now, but it was occupied in May when Juanetta Franklin and Pako Lacey, both of Youngstown, were found shot and killed inside the home. Foley said police do not believe there is a connection between the two incidents.
“Right now it looks more like a coincidence than anything,” said Foley. “He was there for a reason. He definitely backed into that driveway for something. The house is vacant, so we need to know why he was there.”
Police have not made any arrest in either the Moore murder or the Lacey/Franklin murders. Anyone with information on either investigation is encouraged to contact the Youngstown Police Department or CrimeStoppers at 330-746-CLUE.
Moore’s death is the 25th homicide in Youngstown in 2012. There were 22 homicides in the city at this time last year and 23 recorded for all of 2011.