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Youngstown sees rash of serious felony crimes

YOUNGSTOWN — Capt. Brad Blackburn of the Youngstown Police Department acknowledges that the city has seen an uptick in serious felony crimes over the past few days, but says there appears to be no connection among them.

“It was all separate incidents,” he said of multiple armed robberies, a stabbing, gunfire nearly hitting a teenager watching television, and someone shooting at a delivery driver’s car.

Several people are charged in these incidents, including Kenneth Vaughn, 19, of Douglas Avenue, who is accused of driving a four-wheeler at a Youngstown police officer Monday morning, striking the officer in the leg.

Vehicle and weapon-related incidents were also common Friday and Saturday, as officers chased and captured drivers Friday morning and Friday afternoon. On Saturday, officers observed a vehicle being driven over a curb, then charged the driver with menacing.

STABBING

Michelle R. “Money” Jones, 48, of Jackson Street in Campbell, was arraigned Wednesday in Youngstown Municipal Court on felonious assault, accused of stabbing a woman, 53, early Tuesday in the Amedia Plaza apartments on West Boardman Street, just across from the police station.

Officers found the woman, whose nickname is “New York,” bleeding on the bathroom floor of a ninth-floor apartment. A man said the woman went to his apartment just after midnight to drink, and the victim accused Jones of taking her cellphone.

They started fighting, the man said, adding that he didn’t know anyone had a knife until he saw the victim bleeding. Jones left the apartment before police arrived. She was arrested later at her home. She had a folding knife in her pocket and told officers she was “saving it to turn over to the detectives.”

GUNFIRE

A delivery driver for Main Moon restaurant, 1760 Belmont Ave., reported that a man fired a gun at his car at 6:48 p.m. Tuesday when he was making a delivery on Norwood Avenue.

A man paid him with what he later learned was a counterfeit $20 bill. When he got back to his car, a man wearing a white mask and blue gloves pointed a handgun at his car and fired once, so the driver left the area and called police.

Vaughn, meanwhile, was arraigned Wednesday on felony assault on a police officer. The incident began with an officer questioning Vaughn about a four-wheeler Vaughn was pushing on East High Avenue at 6:42 a.m. Monday.

Vaughn got on the four-wheeler and drove toward the officer, who tried to avoid the vehicle but was hit on the leg. The four-wheeler then hit the officer’s cruiser.

When other officers arrived, Vaughn was taken into custody. The officer did not report an injury to this leg, but said he had minor pain to his hand.

CLOSE CALL

A girl, 16, narrowly avoided being hit by an early-morning gunshot fired at her home in the 100 block of Rhoda Avenue on Tuesday. The girl was watching television when the shot hit the TV — missing her by “mere inches,” police said.

Arrested in the incident were Joevon D. Jackson, 19, of Windsor Avenue and Beyonce M. Little, 18, of Wirt Street.

After residents of the home called 911, at 2 a.m., officers located a car matching the description given by the victim on Interstate 680 near Oakwood Boulevard, finding Jackson and Little inside. A firearm was inside the car.

Officers learned that a male living at the home on Rhoda was in conflict with Jackson and Little, and Little threatened the male on social media 15 minutes before the shots were fired. Another shot was embedded in the wall of another room.

ROBBERIES, CHASES

Two businesses were robbed at gunpoint Monday.

Gino’s Drive Thru, 988 E. Midlothian Blvd., was robbed at 11:15 p.m. when a male kicked open the door while an employee was counting money. The suspect, who was wearing all black and a mask, demanded money from the register.

He also took 40 packs of cigarettes and 175 cigars before leaving. The incident was captured on video.

At 8:11 a.m. Monday, the Dollar General, 2981 McGuffey Road, was robbed by an armed person, who stole $557.

In one of two chases on Friday, Nautika Moss, 20, of Farrell, Pa., was arraigned Monday in Youngstown Municipal Court on failure to comply with the orders of a police officer and failure to control. That chase began at 12:42 a.m. Friday on Hillman Street. It ended with a crash.

When the vehicle tried to cross railroad tracks at Hilton and Southern Boulevard, it went out of control and crashed into a front yard on Hilton, striking a tree and a parked vehicle in a driveway. Moss tried to run away but was arrested.

Desmond E. Simmons, 22, of North Hartford Avenue, and James H. Tubbs Jr., 22, of South Jackson Street, were charged with multiple offenses after police said they fled from police in their car and on foot starting on Armstrong Avenue at 4:35 p.m. Friday.

The vehicle came to a stop in the yard of a home on Forest View Drive. Both people inside ran. Tubbs was arrested behind a home on Landsdowne Boulevard. Simmons, the passenger, went into a home on Landsdowne and eventually came back out and allowed himself to be arrested.

erunyan@tribtoday.com