South Side neighbors heard shots before man murdered

By joe gorman


Neighbors said they heard about five gunshots late Thursday, about the same time that a man was shot in the driveway at 3721 Loveland Road on the South Side.

Daniel Watkins, 19, was found slumped over the wheel of a car in the driveway with several gunshot wounds to the chest and later died as he was taken to the hospital about 11:50 p.m. His death was the ninth homicide of the year in Youngstown.

Police found him as other witnesses reported a man running away from the driveway. Capt. Mark Milstead, chief of detectives, declined to discuss a motive Friday. Lt. Doug Bobovnyik said detectives have leads but no suspects.

Neighbors in the quiet area near Buckeye Park all said there is not much trouble in their neighborhood.

Tony Sharp, who lives two houses down, said he was outside when he heard the gunshots.

“I had a fire going and I’m drinking a beer,” Sharp said. “I heard a shot and someone screaming and I called 911.”

Sharp said he was scared.

“I didn’t know where they [bullets] were going,” Sharp said. “I didn’t know if the shooter was still there.”

A woman across the street who did not want to be identified said she heard five shots. A short while later, a police car pulled up and someone shouted, “He went that way!” to the officer, the woman said.

Sharp’s daughter, Patricia, was inside and also heard the shots.

“We just thought it was fireworks,” she said.

Five houses up, Jim Raymond said he also was outside and he also thought the noise was fireworks.

“It was like three or four shots — pop, pop, pop,” Raymond said. “I didn’t think anything of it until the police came.”

Raymond and Sharp both said the neighborhood rarely has any trouble. Sharp said the woman who lives in the home where Watkins was shot has lived there for a couple of years with two boys and there has never been any problems.

“The loudest noise you hear here is the traffic,” Raymond said.

A man who said he lives at the home said he came home about five minutes after the shooting, and that he had never seen Watkins there before. The man did not want to give his name and said he was questioned by detectives.

Watkins has a pending misdemeanor charge in Mahoning County Court in Boardman. Files show he was arrested in April after admitting to taking seven cellphones from the Boardman YMCA in February.

Police are still awaiting a ruling from the coroner’s office on the death of Raytwonn Briggs, 4, who was killed by a gunshot July 7 inside a Fairgreen Avenue home on the North Side. An investigation is being done to see if the death was accidental or a homicide.

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