By Ed Runyan
A 17-year-old boy was found shot to death in the backyard of a house on Wick Street Southeast at 11:58 a.m. Wednesday after he was involved in a confrontation with a resident of nearby Brier Street.
The Trumbull County Coroner’s Office would say only that the person who died was 17 and black. An autopsy was to be performed today. The office did not release the teen’s identity Wednesday night.
Police said the Brier Street resident, a 32-year-old man, reported that he fired a gun at two males while they were committing a home invasion and that the two fled through yards toward Wick Street.
Police said they are still investigating whether the two males had a gun, whether they were inside the residence and whether the homeowner knew the two males.
The teen’s body was found in the backyard of a house on Wick Street, directly south of the Brier Street home.
Police had taped off two crime scenes — one on Brier Street, where police placed yellow evidence markers in the driveway beside the break-in victim’s house, and the Wick Street residence.
Police said the evidence markers indicate areas where evidence was found, not necessarily the location of bullet shell casings.
Police placed the Brier Street resident in the back of an unmarked police car while they investigated outside and inside his home. Later, they talked with him in the driveway near the evidence markers.
A Wick Street resident said the teen who was killed and another male came running between his house and the one next door, after he heard about a dozen gunshots.
Both were wearing hooded sweatshirts pulled up around their heads, he said, adding that he saw a male on the ground near the woods behind his house, so he went back to check on him.
“We stood over him to see if he was all right, and I watched him take his last breath,” the witness said. He also called 911.
The second male continued into the woods and remains at large, police said.
Because the second male was at large, police notified nearby Warren John F. Kennedy High School and the nearby Willard K-8 school to be on alert. The second male remained at large late Wednesday.
A short time later, police were notified by the Brier Street homeowner that two people pulled a gun on him and took off running through the yards. Witnesses described one of the individuals as having a light-red hooded sweatshirt. Other clothing described was a blue hooded sweatshirt and blue or black shorts.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol had an aircraft nearby, and it flew through the neighborhood in the hour after the incident.
The house across the street from where the teen’s body was found was boarded up last June and declared a nuisance under Ohio’s nuisance-abatement laws.
Two men were arrested in the home and were charged with drug possession after police found suspected heroin, pills and guns inside.
The Trumbull Ashtabula Group Law Enforcement Task Force conducted an investigation of the residence after neighbors complained that drug dealing, drug use and gunplay were taking place outside the home at all hours of the day and night.
The Wick Street location is also just down the street from where Lloyd McCoy Jr., 11, and his sister’s boyfriend, Marvin Chaney, 25, were killed April 13, 2009, when two men opened fire from the street in front of the house, hitting the house with more than 20 bullets.
Both shooters, Eugene Henderson and Eugene Cumberbatch, were convicted in the case and sentenced to life prison terms. Police said the gunfire was meant to kill Chaney over a drug-related issue, but McCoy was an innocent victim.