By Joe Gorman
Police say two men killed at an East Side housing project Thursday shot each other during a gunfight.
Killed were 23-year-old Charles Moore of Katherine Street and Marquell McLane, 27, of Kenneth Street. Their deaths are the city’s seventh and eighth homicides of 2014.
Police were called to the 1400 block of Dogwood Court in the Rockford Village housing project about 8:40 p.m., where they found Moore in the driver’s seat of a car. He was not breathing and was wounded in the side.
McLane was found face up in a nearby yard in the 1400 block of Willow Court. He also was not breathing.
Reports said both driver’s side windows of Moore’s car were shot out, and there were two bullet holes apiece in the hood and the front door and one in the back door.
Chief of Detectives Capt. Brad Blackburn said it looked as if the two had shot each other, based on ballistics evidence and statements from witnesses.
“As of now, everything points to an exchange of gunfire between the two,” Blackburn said.
Reports said witnesses told police McLane and his brother had been coming around over the last few days, knocking on the door of a Willow Court apartment looking for Moore.
Another witness said she was with Moore as he dropped her off at her Dogwood Court apartment. When she got out of the car she heard gunshots, grabbed her 22-month-old daughter who was in the back seat and ran into her apartment.
There was a semiautomatic handgun next to Moore when he was found and three shell casings on the passenger’s side of the front seat. Reports did not say if a gun was found with or near McLane.
Blackburn said the two did not like each other.
“We don’t know what the root cause is, but they have been feuding with each other,” Blackburn said.
Mahoning County Common Pleas Court records show that Moore was facing an aggravated robbery charge in 2011, but that charge was dismissed by Judge Maureen Sweeney in 2012 because of a lack of evidence. In April 2012, he was sentenced to three years’ probation in a separate receiving-stolen-property case by Judge Sweeney, and in August 2012, he was given a 15-month prison sentence after he violated his probation. He also made a request for judicial release, which was denied.
In August 2013, he was indicted on a charge of participating in a criminal gang. He was accused of being a member of the Vic Boys gang on the East Side. Court records show he entered a guilty plea in the case in April, and he was to be sentenced June 13, but his sentencing hearing was continued.
Court records show McLane was sentenced to six months in prison for a 2011 charge of carrying concealed weapons. In 2009, McLane was sentenced to one year’s probation for a carrying-concealed-weapons charge as well.
In 2013, Youngstown had a total of 20 homicides. At this point last year, the city had 10 homicides.