September 17, 2014

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Family: Victim was casualty of turf war

LORAIN — Marquis McCall had just begun a summer job and was on track to graduate high school next June before he was cut down by gunfire Monday night.

The 18-year-old was pronounced dead on arrival at Community Regional Medical Center in Lorain, the victim of what his parents believe is part of an ongoing feud between east-siders, south-siders and west-siders.

“He had come home from work, took a shower, cleaned his room and laid down to take a nap when his friend came over and woke him up, telling him his friend had been shot,” said McCall’s mother, Jackie Lewis.

Christopher Hill, 16, was shot in the face while sitting in a parked car on 18th Street and Long Avenue about 6 p.m. Monday. Lewis said Christopher was from the south side, and although he and her son were friends, she warned McCall not to leave the house because she had heard that some teens from the south side were looking to retaliate.

McCall and the friend that came over left the home just after 10 p.m. and together walked to a nearby store, said his father Leonard McCall. It was on their way back that gunfire erupted.

A car circled the neighborhood three times before opening fire on McCall and his friend, 17-year-old Craig Roberson, Lewis said.

“He was never in no gang,” said his father. “It’s this west-side, south-side, east-side generation.”

Lewis said rumors have been floating around the neighborhood that the shooters thought her son was someone else, and that’s why he was shot.

“He wasn’t being targeted,” she said.

She said Marquis McCall was a good boy who loved hanging out with his family. He had 10 brothers and sisters and dozens of cousins as a result of his grandmother’s 52 grandchildren.

“He was also a fighter,” said his father. “He was born premature. Only weighed 2 pounds, 4 ounces, but he fought through that. He lived with a shunt in his head but made it through with only minor headaches.”

Lewis said her son was never disrespectful and was beloved by his teachers at Admiral King High School, where he played on the basketball team two years ago.

“His teachers cared about him,” she said. “One of them came up to the hospital and the principal talked with us. He was a good son.”

Mayor Tony Krasienko said on Tuesday that McCall had a job with the city thanks to a federal grant.

“He was employed by the Lorain County Workforce Development Agency … and assigned to the City of Lorain, where he worked in the streets department,” Krasienko said.

The Workforce Development Agency received $1.33 million in stimulus funding that was used to hire approximately 200 high school and college students for summer jobs around the county.

Lorain County Administrator James Cordes called McCall’s death “unfortunate” and said the federal stimulus grant targeted at-risk young people ages 16 to 24 years old for summer employment.

“Most of these youths are … at-risk groups that have, or are eligible to receive, other support from the community,” Cordes said. “Lots of them are students that attend colleges, JVS or technical schools, so just because they’re eligible doesn’t mean they aren’t seeking better lives. I don’t know what the general track of (McCall) was, but obviously he had a keen enough sense to come down and get himself into a work program.”

McCall and Hill were killed in separate drive-by shootings Monday. A third shooting took place early Sunday morning, and a report of shots fired also was investigated by Lorain police Saturday. All four incidents took place in central Lorain.

Three other people were injured in the shootings. Craig Roberson, 17, of Lorain, was shot in the leg; Aaron Rodriguez, 18, of Lorain was shot in the leg; and Duane Richardson, 19, of Lorain, was shot in the foot. Roberson and Rodriguez were treated and released from a local hospital. Richardson was transported elsewhere, but it’s unknown where he was sent after initially receiving local care.

Police have stepped up patrols and manpower for the foreseeable future, including SWAT and K9 units.

Contact Adam Wright at 329-7129 or awright@chroniclet.com.

Contact Alicia Castelli at 329-7144 or acastelli@chroniclet.com.