By Ed Runyan
Police continue to investigate the New Year’s morning shooting death of Cory Blackwell, which apparently happened near a crowded dance floor at an East Market Street bar.
Police found Blackwell, 25, of Randolph Street Northwest unresponsive with gunshot wounds in front of the Sunset Lounge, 480 E. Market St., at 2:11 a.m. He was pronounced dead later at ValleyCare Trumbull Memorial Hospital.
Trumbull County coroner Dr. Humphrey Germaniuk ruled Blackwell’s death a homicide from multiple gunshot wounds.
Police discovered that shots had been fired inside the bar near the dance floor before finding Blackwell’s body.
Police had not made any arrests as of Wednesday, and they were trying to determine how many people fired guns in the bar, said Wayne Mackey, a city police detective.
Danee Williams, 25, of Warren, also was grazed by a gunshot while standing on Elm Road Northeast just after the gunfire in the bar erupted, she said.
The Sunset Lounge was packed when the gunfire started inside the bar, Williams said, but she managed to get out of the bar’s Elm Road exit.
But once outside, a car went past with a man sticking his head and arm out, and he fired the gun “reckless,” not at any particular person, and a bullet ricocheted and hit her in the shoe. Another person was driving, she said.
She discovered the bullet had scratched her foot, and she went to Trumbull Memorial Tuesday afternoon for treatment, which caused hospital officials to notify the police.
Williams said there was loud music playing, so she couldn’t tell what led up to the gunshots, but she thinks it was an argument.
She knew that Blackwell was on the sidewalk, but lots of people were around him, so she couldn’t see him, Williams said.
Blackwell had a pending 2010 case in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court charging him with cocaine possession, and he served 18 months in prison starting in 2008 on charges of attempted intimidation, multiple counts of cocaine possession and cocaine trafficking.
City council voted in August to object to the renewal of the Sunset’s liquor license on the grounds that the bar produces a lot of calls to the police department. A hearing on the license has been delayed in recent months.
The resolution also followed an Aug. 2 inspection by the Ohio Department of Public Safety in which agents reported they found that LaShawn Ziegler of Warren had been participating in the operation of the tavern.
Ziegler, 40, was sentenced to five years’ probation in April 2010 after pleading guilty to receiving stolen property, tampering with records, falsification, marijuana possession and marijuana trafficking.
Among the terms of his probation were that he not enter any bars, taverns or liquor establishments, according to court documents.
A call to the Sunset was not answered Wednesday.
Meanwhile, city detectives were called to Vernon Avenue Northwest near Freeman Street at 2:20 p.m. Wednesday to investigate a report of a dead body.
Children first spotted the woman’s body and notified adults, who called police.
There were no obvious signs of foul play. Police have a tentative identification, but the identification needs to be confirmed, and an autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death, police said.