Man killed during East Side gun battle

By Joe Gorman


Police are trying to figure out if a man who was shot late Saturday and died from his wounds early Monday was a participant in a rolling gunbattle.

William McClain, 39, of Lilburne Drive, was found lying on East High Avenue near North Truesdale Avenue about 11 p.m. Saturday and taken to St. Elizabeth Health Center, where he died early Monday. His death was the city’s 10th homicide of the year.

Police say McClain’s shooting is unrelated to a home invasion about 11:50 p.m. Saturday at nearby 841 Fairfax Ave., where Kevin D. Rogers, 32, was shot in the leg.

Capt. Mark Milstead, chief of detectives, said that at the time McClain was shot, there was a “rolling gunfight with military-style assault weapons” and that investigators are trying to see if McClain was involved in the fight.

Detectives also are trying to figure out where the fight started. A car a state trooper from the Canfield Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol pulled over a short time later that had two bullet holes also is being examined to see if it had any links to the gunfight, Milstead said.

In 1992, McClain was arrested on a charge of aggravated possession of drugs, posted bond in Youngstown Municipal Court, then was arrested about a month and a half later on a charge of felonious assault with a specification a firearm was used. He was sentenced to between three and 15 years in prison on that charge by former Judge Joseph Houser. Court records are not clear as to when he was released.

The only other criminal charge court records show is a 2012 arrest on a charge of receiving stolen property. Records do not list an outcome in that case in Mahoning County Court in Austintown.

At this time in 2012, Youngstown had recorded 18 homicides. There were 26 recorded homicides in the city in 2012.

At Fairfax Avenue, police were called for a report of a gunman inside the home. A woman in the home yelled for help before she was disconnected with the 911 center. When police got there, they found Rogers shot in the leg.

Reports said Rogers told officers someone he knows pounded on his door while he was watching television, and when he opened the door, the man told Rogers to “give it up.” Rogers grabbed for the gun and it went off, wounding him.

Police found two bullet holes inside the house as well as two spent shell casings outside, reports said. Rogers also was taken to St. Elizabeth Health Center.

McClain’s death was the second homicide in the city in five days. Late Thursday, Daniel Watkins, 19, of Boardman was shot in a driveway on Loveland Road on the South Side and later died. Police have not yet released a motive for the shooting and are still investigating.

Also, on Loveland Road on May 12, Robert Vanderpool was shot and killed on his mother’s front porch. Police have yet to make an arrest in that case.

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