Police charge birthday girl with involuntary manslaughter
By Ed Runyan
It wasn’t a good way to celebrate her 19th birthday.
Police say Lakeisha Bell accidentally shot her friend, McKayla Hopkins, in the torso Friday night at Bell’s birthday party in Perkins Park, killing Hopkins, 18.
On Wednesday afternoon, after arriving at the Warren Police Department to discuss the matter with police, she was charged with involuntary manslaughter and carrying a concealed weapon.
Bell, of Williamsburg Street Northwest, was taken to the Trumbull County Jail and is expected to be arraigned this morning in Warren Municipal Court.
If convicted, she could get as much as 11 years in prison.
Hopkins, of Porter Street Northeast and Sherwood Drive in Howland, also recently lived at the Trumbull County Children Services residential facilities, according to a Warren Police report.
Warren Council President Bob Dean said Saturday the death is evidence that Warren has a problem with gun violence among teens.
“If kids are outside fighting and arguing and the police come, those who run away immediately are the ones with guns,” he said. “If there are 30 kids fighting, there are at least three or four guns.”
Police have not said what they believe led up to the shooting, such as whether an argument was involved.
Bell was charged with another felony April 19, when Warren police found her at 2:30 a.m. near the scene of a purse theft at the Pit Stop gas station on Youngstown Road Southeast.
They found items involved in the theft, then found crack cocaine in Bell’s possession and charged her with felony drug trafficking and misdemeanor receiving stolen property.
A county grand jury indicted her June 28 on felony charges of cocaine trafficking and cocaine possession. She was released from the county jail after posting $20,000 bond and is due for a preliminary hearing in common pleas court in that case Aug. 28.
The county coroner ruled Hopkins’ death a homicide as a result of a gunshot wound. The shooting took place at 9:04 p.m.