By Ed Runyan
Warren police spent Monday investigating two apparent Friday homicides.
One of the deaths was ruled homicide by asphyxiation. It involves a 41-year-old woman found dead in a Parkman Road Southwest house fire.
The other death involves an 18-year-old girl who died after being shot at a birthday party at the pavilion at Perkins Park on Mahoning Avenue.
An official cause and manner of death in her case is pending further investigation, police said.
Lori A. Wishart, 41, of 459 Parkman, died in a 1:34 p.m. fire at her home. Warren police, the Warren Fire Department and the Ohio Fire Marshal’s Office are investigating the fire, which police believe was set intentionally.
Wishart was found in the back of the first floor of the home. Paramedics were unable to revive her.
The fire started in the front of the first floor of the duplex, said Fire Chief Ken Nussle.
Police Lt. Jeff Cole said the Trumbull County Coroner’s Office ruled Wishart’s death a homicide by asphyxiation, but he said he could not specify whether the asphyxiation resulted from fire or something else, such as strangulation.
Wishart, who had been sent to prison in 2010 on a probation violation connected to a Liberty Township aggravated-drug-possession conviction, had called Warren police multiple times in recent months.
On July 29, she reported at 11:41 p.m. that three teens had thrown an apple at her house window and ran off. She said the window had been busted “a ton of times, and insurance won’t cover it anymore.”
On May 31, she called police to report that a 58-year-old male friend came to her house about 2 a.m. and argued with her about photographic images. The friend shattered two front windows and left, she reported.
In the other case, McKayla Hopkins, 18, of Reeves Road Northeast suffered a gunshot wound to the torso at 9:04 p.m. while attending a birthday party at the Perkins Park pavilion.
As of Monday afternoon, police had not made any arrest in case, which was classified as a murder in a Warren police report, despite the lack of a ruling from the coroner.
Police say they are still investigating whether the shooting was an accident or not, but they are “working on the theory” that the gunshot came from within the group of people participating in the party.
A friend of Hopkins’, Ranyiah Miller, said Hopkins was “just fun. She always had a joke.”
Hopkins lived on Porter Street, Miller said.
The address police gave for Hopkins was 2282 Reeves, the address for Trumbull County Children Services.
Tim Schaffner, executive director of children services, said he cannot “talk about a case that is open or has been in the past with us,” but there are young people who “age out” of children services at 18, and the agency helps get them established in a new home.
The agency provides extensive help to such people in getting an apartment, getting into school, counseling or whatever they need, Schaffner said.