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Youngstown’s 17th homicide victim of 2019 ID’d

By ED RUNYAN

Staff writer

YOUNGSTOWN — Police won’t comment on whether they think Wednesday’s shooting death of a 24-year-old Woodcrest Avenue man is connected to the Jan. 24 shooting death of Crystal Hernandez.

Police are investigating the death as a homicide after finding the body of Lavante Perry in the living room of a home in the 1400 block of Woodcrest.

Perry suffered multiple gunshot wounds about 4:40 p.m. Wednesday and was pronounced dead at the scene. Police had been called there for a shooting.

Perry had pleaded guilty in October to felonious assault in connection to the death of Hernandez, who was shot Jan. 24 in her apartment on McBride Street while holding her 2-year-old son. Her death was the third part of a series of shooting incidents.

Perry was scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 8, 2020, and was expected to get about six years in prison.

Authorities say Perry and Gabriel Smith, 19, of McBride Street, the father of Hernandez’s child, went to a home on McGuffey Road earlier that day. Perry shot Martize Daniels, 19, in the leg in retaliation for individuals shooting at Smith earlier that day.

Then six men, including Daniels, then went to the McBride residence looking for Smith, who was not there. But Hernandez, who was there holding her 2-year-old son, was fatally shot in the neck as she shielded the child. The boy was not injured.

The six are Marquise Torres-Willis, 22; Joquaun Blair, 22; Maurice Redrick, 20; Larenz Rhodes, 19; Daniels; and Burton McGee, 20. Each was ordered held in the Mahoning County Justice Center on $1 million bond and are scheduled for trial Jan. 13, 2020.

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office will perform Perry’s autopsy, the Mahoning County Coroner’s Office said.

Lt. Brian Welsh of the Youngstown Police Department’s detective bureau said he could not comment on the case.

If the shooting is ruled a homicide, it will be the 17th of year and the second one in the city in the the past four months. There were 28 homicides in the city in 2018.

The city experienced a homicide spike late last year with 13 in the last 2 1/2 months of the year.

When asked about the trend, Mike Yacovone, assistant county prosecutor, said some of the homicide cases he is prosecuting now involve individuals accused of committing multiple homicides last year.

He suggested that the numbers might be down recently because quite a few of the individuals responsible for killings are locked up.

erunyan@tribtoday.com