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Columbus man indicted in city death

Grand jury grants 3 charges in South Avenue shooting

YOUNGSTOWN — Erik E. Jenkins, 25, of Columbus has been indicted on murder, attempted murder and felonious assault charges in the March 4 killing of Thomas C. Williams, 34, in the parking lot of King’s Court tavern, 3223 South Ave., and the wounding of a security guard from the tavern.

All three charges also carry specifications of a gun being used.

Jenkins turned himself in at the Mahoning County jail March 16 after Youngstown police Chief Carl Davis, Mayor Jamael Tito Brown and others had a news conference at the Youngstown Police Department to announce that Jenkins had been charged.

During that conference, officials revealed it’s possible the security guard may have been the shooter who killed Williams — but that Jenkins is charged with the murder because he’s the person who allegedly began the gunfight and the security guard fired back.

Capt. Rod Foley, chief of detectives, said the security guard “appears to have been the target of Mr. Jenkins, who initiated this whole shooting by walking up in the parking lot and just shooting (about a dozen shots) at the security guard.”

Foley said police are unaware of any conflict prior to the shooting involving the security guard and Jenkins, but the security guard fired his gun at Jenkins. When Foley was asked whether the security guard’s gun might have hit and killed Williams, Foley said police are “still trying to determine that.”

Law Director Jeff Limbian commented that under Ohio law, “When you come to a gunfight and start a gunfight, you’re responsible for everything that happens from that point on. So regardless of whoever ultimately shot” Williams, Jenkins is charged with killing him.

Forensic evidence from Williams’ body may tell police more about whose bullets killed him, Foley said. The King’s Court is a new name for the tavern. It formerly was known as the Coconut Grove, Foley said.

The grand jury also indicted the following people:

• Ja’el M. Smith, 20, Gibbs Avenue, Canton, disorderly conduct;

• Devon Royal, 32, Mahoning County jail, being a felon in possession of a firearm and domestic violence;

• Darryl B. Thomas Jr., 35, Manchester Drive, felonious assault and a repeat violent offender specification;

• Dante J. Mason, 31, Mahoning County jail, fentanyl related compound possession with a specification of forfeiture of money in a drug case and cruelty to companion animals;

• Pablo E. Munoz, 37, Mahoning County jail, theft from a person in a protected class, theft, two counts of receiving stolen property and single counts of misuse of credit cards and tampering with evidence;

• Jermaine McCree, 44, Wydesteel Avenue, cocaine possession with a specification of forfeiture of money in a drug case, failure to comply with the order of a police officer and obstructing official business;

• Seth J. Tush, 24, Bainbridge Avenue, Austintown, aggravated drug possession and fentanyl-related compound possession;

• Eric O. Smith, 34, Bouquet Avenue, tampering with coin machines, two counts of breaking and entering and one count of possessing criminal tools.

• Brent L. Herman, 44, Youngstown, tampering with coin machines, two counts of breaking and entering and one count of possessing criminal tools;

• Jason N. Dirocco, 29, Mahoning County jail, burglary, grand theft when the property is a firearm or dangerous ordnance and identity fraud;

• Dominick A. Smith, 30, Mahoning County jail, fentanyl-related compound possession with a specification of forfeiture of money in a drug case, cocaine possession with a specification of forfeiture of money in a drug case, being a felon in possession of a firearm, obstructing official business with a gun specification and carrying a concealed weapon.

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