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Assault rifle found during South Side traffic stops

YOUNGSTOWN — Two men are charged after police made a traffic stop at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday at West LaClede Avenue and Colfax Street and the driver took off.

Another man was arrested at 6:44 p.m. Tuesday in a traffic stop at West LaClede Avenue and Rosedale Avenue after officers found an assault rifle in the car.

Officers stopped the vehicle at 7:15 p.m. because the rear license plate was not illuminated. The driver, Romellow M. McKnight, 26, of Clearmont Drive, pulled over and spoke with the officer, who noticed the handle of a handgun near McKnight’s leg and told McKnight to put up his hands and open the car door.

McKnight drove off, so the officers got back in their vehicle and followed. The pursuit lasted about seven minutes and covered about 3 miles, according to a police report.

The car traveled throughout the South Side, including Mill Creek Park. At times the vehicle was traveling at double the speed limit. It also went through yards, and stopped in the yard of a home at South Hayes Avenue and East Henry Street on the South Side, the report stated.

Before the car came to a complete stop, four men got out and ran in different directions. McKnight ran south on Hayes Avenue and then through some yards, where he was taken into custody, the report states.

Another officer pursued Savaughn S. Moore, 18, East Auburndale Avenue, and captured him. Another officer pursued a third man who ran north and jumped over a fence, then across Interstate 680 and escaped.

The same officer then noticed a fourth suspect, a 23-year-old Niles man, who was apprehended but not charged, the report states.

A handgun was found on the sidewalk near the passenger side of the car in the path Moore took when he left the car, the report states.

A second handgun was found several feet behind the car, where McKnight had been seen falling when all of the occupants exited the vehicle, the report states. The guns were not reported as stolen.

McKnight initially denied being the driver, but body camera footage confirmed he was, the report states. McKnight then claimed to be the owner of both firearms. Officers determined that was not true, however, the report states.

McKnight will be arraigned today in Youngstown Municipal Court on failure to comply with the orders of a police officer, improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle and obstructing official business.

Moore also will be arraigned today. His charges are improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle and carrying a concealed weapon.

Officers also made a traffic stop at 6:44 p.m. Wednesday on a car driven by Damiyan Jackson, 20, of Alameda Avenue because it ran a stop sign at Hillman Street and West LaClede Avenue.

When officers started talking to Jackson, an officer saw the upper part of an assault rifle in the rear seat behind Jackson. He was directed to exit the vehicle, which he did. Officers found a handgun in his jacket pocket, and Jackson said he had no concealed carry permit.

Police also removed “miscellaneous firearm parts” from the vehicle. The report did not indicate that police removed a full assault rifle from the vehicle.

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