Woman shot dead on West Side street

By Joe Gorman



Police are trying to put together the events that led to the shooting death of a 24-year-old woman.

Officers answering a gunfire call Friday afternoon on a West Side street found a woman dead inside a sport utility vehicle.

Police say the woman’s death is a homicide, the ninth of the year in Youngstown. She is identified as Rae’venna Faircloth-Thomas of Youngstown.

Officers were called about 12:30 p.m. to the first block of Oneta Street for a report that someone in a car was firing shots at an SUV that was parked on the street. When officers arrived, the car was gone, but they discovered the woman shot to death in the driver’s seat of the SUV.

Several neighbors who did not want to give their names said they heard the shots and they had not seen the SUV on their street before.

About 3:30 p.m., officers converged on a vacant home on Millet Avenue, also on the West Side, where they found the car that is suspected of being involved in the homicide. Detectives searched the car and took a person to the detective bureau for questioning.

Just after officers arrived at the crime scene on Oneta, it began raining. Detective Sgt. Ron Rodway said the rain made processing the SUV more difficult because evidence such as gunshot residue or DNA evidence on the victim had to be kept dry.

Officers borrowed a tarp from a neighbor, and patrol officers and even supervisors also used their umbrellas to shield crime-scene personnel and coroner’s workers who examined the SUV.

Detective Sgt. D.P. Scott, head of the crime lab, was soaked as he worked in the rain taking several photos of the SUV and the surrounding area.

When the body of Faircloth-Thomas was removed from the SUV, a Pittsburgh Steelers Hines Ward jersey could be seen on the victim.

Rodway said Oneta is a quiet street, particularly the stretch where the victim was found, between Frank Sinkwich Drive and Salt Springs Road. He said one of the keys for investigators is finding out why she was there in the first place.

Rodway would not say how officers were able to find the suspected car on Millet, but he credited Community Police Unit officer George Wallace for helping to track it down.

In 2016, Youngstown had 18 homicides – eight at this time last year.

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