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Suspect faces host of charges

20-year-old is blinded by shot to the temple

WARREN — A Trumbull County grand jury has indicted a Youngstown man in connection with the June 10 shootings at a busy Belmont Avenue intersection in Liberty.

The indictment details the major, blinding injuries of the 20-year-old shooting victim.

Kevin Mallard, 55, of Manhattan Avenue, is indicted on attempted aggravated murder with a firearm specification; attempted murder with a firearm specification; inducing panic with a firearm specification; improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle, and carrying concealed weapons.

He is accused by police of shooting Zach Woods, 20, at arm’s length in the temple with a Glock .40-caliber weapon, as Woods sat behind the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz.

The indictment states Mallard walked back to his Humvee after the shooting and drove off. Police officers responding to the shooting, however, stopped the Humvee and a shootout began — with dozens of shots fired.

Reports show that police officers struck Mallard in the extremities several times. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation stated it is investigating and its report will be forwarded to the Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office if further charges will be filed against Mallard.

The seven-page indictment details the scene at the intersection of Belmont Avenue and East Liberty Street shortly before 3 p.m. The shooting was captured by several witnesses on cellphone videos, reports stated.

Mallard’s Humvee was stopped directly behind Woods’ vehicle in the northbound lane at the traffic light, the indictment states. Mallard exited his vehicle and approached the open driver’s side window of the Mercedes-Benz.

“Once the defendant (Mallard) was within arm’s length from his victim, he pulled a Glock .40-caliber handgun, loaded with hollow-point bullets, from his waistband and placed it to the side of the victim’s head,” the document stated.

The indictment states Mallard fired one shot, striking Woods in the left temple with the bullet traveling through both eye sockets and the nasal cavity.

“The defendant’s actions left the victim in critical condition and precariously near death,” the document states.

The shooting permanently maimed and disabled Woods, the indictment states, causing him to lose both eyes.

Mallard was indicted on a direct presentment, which means prosecutors bypassed Girard Municipal Court and went straight to a grand jury. A preliminary hearing for Mallard scheduled for this week in Girard court has been canceled.

An arraignment is set for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday before Judge Ronald Rice in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court. The suspect remains jailed without bond.

Authorities are trying to piece together what precipitated the shooting, but witnesses told police they didn’t see any evidence of road rage, according to a report.

The attempted murder charges are first-degree felonies that each carry potential indefinite prison sentences maxing out at 16 years. The inducing panic charge, which states Mallard caused the evacuation of a public place and created a serious public inconvenience or alarm, is a fourth-degree felony that carries a potential maximum 18-month sentence. The two weapons charges also are fourth-degree felonies, while each of the three firearm specifications carry mandatory three-year prison sentences that must be served consecutively to any other prison sentence.

The intersection at Belmont and East Liberty Street was closed for at least four hours that Friday afternoon and evening, and the area around the Interstate 80 exit ramp to East Liberty Street about a block away was closed even longer while investigators looked for evidence.

Liberty police Chief Toby Meloro commented about the incident during a recent township trustees meeting.

“In my police career, I have never had anything like that happen. … We are living in crazy times. … Police officers are always prepared and take the needed training. The officers rely on the training that they have had for situations like this,” he said.

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