2 arrested in fatal Ohio fraternity house shooting
THOMAS J. SHEERAN, Associated Press
Monday, February 7, 2011
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — Two men angry over a dispute at an Ohio fraternity house party left the gathering and returned early Sunday, spraying bullets into a crowd and killing a Youngstown State University student who was trying to separate two groups, authorities said. Eleven other people were injured, including a 17-year-old with a critical head wound.
The men were arrested and charged later Sunday with aggravated murder, shooting into a house and 11 counts of felonious assault, Youngstown police Chief Jimmy Hughes said. The suspects are in their early 20s and from the Youngstown area, but Hughes withheld their names pending further investigation.
“These guys were in the location for a little while before the shooting occurred,” he said. “Something happened that they became unhappy. They had some type of altercation.”
The shooting occurred at a two-story brick house in a neighborhood of once-elegant homes, many of which are now boarded up. The house party had been bustling with 50 or more people early Sunday, Hughes said.
“Somebody just got shot!” a caller tells a dispatcher on a recording of the 911 call.
The Mahoning County coroner’s office identified the dead student as 25-year-old Jamail E. Johnson. He was shot once in the head and multiple times in his hips and legs; an autopsy is planned Monday, said Dr. Joseph Ohr, a forensic pathologist with the coroner’s office.
Capt. Rod Foley said Johnson apparently was trying to separate two groups when he was shot.
“(Johnson) was just an excellent, excellent young man, and our loss runs deep,” said Christopher Cooper, a legal officer for Omega Psi Phi fraternity. The senior had recently traveled to North Carolina for a fraternity program emphasizing manhood and scholarship, Cooper said.
Johnson’s fraternity brothers were trying to decide whether to return to the house, he said. They were “very solemn, very alarmed, very hurt,” Cooper said.
The 11 people who were injured ranged in age from 17 to 31. About half of them were shot in the foot, police said. Two were hit in the abdomen, and the most seriously hurt was the 17-year-old who was shot near one ear.
They were taken to nearby St. Elizabeth Health Center. Eight of them had been treated and released by afternoon, hospital spokeswoman Tina Creighton said. She said she could not release the conditions of the other three.
The university said six of the injured were students.
Members of the university-sanctioned Omega Psi Phi fraternity lived at the house, YSU spokesman Ron Cole said.
Omega Psi Phi doesn’t own the house, Cooper said.
A neighbor, Rodger Brown, 54, said the house and an adjacent home with Greek lettering indicating a fraternity often have parties on Friday and Saturday nights but had caused no problems in the neighborhood.
“It’s a nice, quiet neighborhood,” he said.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich planned to meet Monday in Youngstown with YSU president Cynthia Anderson and Mayor Jay Williams to discuss the shootings.
“This is one of those days that every university president across the country, as well as many other officials, always dread,“ Anderson said at a news conference on campus.
Anderson said she had been assured by police that there was no threat to the urban campus in northeast Ohio near the Pennsylvania border. The university has about 15,000 students with alumni including former Kansas Jayhawks football coach Mark Mangino and fashion designer Nanette Lepore.
Associated Press writers Kantele Franko in Columbus, Ohio, and Sofia Mannos in Washington contributed to this report.