YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Police said they are searching for a person of interest in a shooting that killed three people early today at a North Side club.
However, Lt. Brian Welsh of the Detective Bureau said investigators are still not sure if there were multiple shooters in the incident that also wounded two other people.
The deaths push the city’s homicide total for 2020 to five. In 2019, Youngstown had 20 homicides. At this time in 2019, the city had two homicides.
Police were called about 3:45 a.m. to the Brothers of Power Classic Cars Club at Logan and Tacoma avenues for multiple reports of gunfire. At least one person was found shot to death in a car.
Some victims were taken to St. Elizabeth Health Center by private car and others by ambulance, Welsh said.
Detectives are working with the Mahoning County Coroner’s Office to confirm the identity of the three people who were killed. All three victims are men who were in their 30s, detectives said.
At the hospital, there was still a large police presence at 7 a.m. A car with large amounts of blood on the back driver’s side door was parked in front of the emergency room entrance and was later towed for evidence.
Police interviewed several witnesses throughout the early morning hours and the entire midnight shift for the Patrol Division was also held over. Welsh said the scene was very chaotic because people were either upset or witnesses they were trying to talk to were trying to leave. At one point, police Chief Robin Lees also responded.
The crime scene is a large one, encompassing the parking lot plus the inside of the club, Welsh said. Welsh said detectives still do not what prompted the shooting.
The department also has four detectives plus a supervisor working the case. Until late last year, the typical practice was to have two detectives and a supervisor work a homicide, but police changed that to three detectives late in the year.
Call takers in the city’s 911 center were swamped with a deluge of calls from panicked people at the club.
“I got shot! I got shot! I got shot!” One woman screamed. She said she was shot inside of the club. She said she had no idea where the shooter was and another person could be heard saying, “I can’t deal with this.” Several people are screaming in the background.
Another caller was screaming: “They’re dead!” when she tried to answer the call taker’s questions.
One of the first officers on the scene said he saw a person running away with a gun. “We got a male running with a gun! He just shot it! He shot! He dropped it! We got multiple victims!”
Another woman said: “All I know was I’m in the bar and the next thing I know somebody got shot. I just got out of there.”
The man described by the officer ran into a nearby gas station and police set up a perimeter but it was not clear if they made an arrest or not.
“Officers determined that five people were shot. Victims were transported to Mercy Health by AMR and private vehicles,” said Welsh.
The two injured are currently in stable condition.
On Thursday, the Youngstown Fire Department was called to the club for a fire when a man who lives in the upstairs apartment called 911.
Sunday’s shooting is the third triple homicide in Youngstown in 15 months.
On Dec. 12, Korey Jennings, 38; Jamal Burley, 38; and Adrien Brown, 42, were killed in a 517 W. Delason Ave. home. Police have yet to make any arrests in that case.
On Nov. 7, 2018, Edward Morris, 21; Valarica Blair, 19; and their three-month-old son, Tariq Morris, were killed as they sat in a car on the side of the road at East Pasadena Avenue and Gibson Street. Police were able to indict two men in October for their deaths.
According to the website gunviolencearchive.org, which tracks mass shootings across the country, Youngstown has the most triple homicides of any city in Ohio within that 15-month span.