October 22, 2014

Elyria
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Police: No evidence yet to link shootings

ELYRIA — Elyria police remain tight-lipped about their investigation of the city’s first fatal shooting of the year.

Charles “Chuckie” Howard Jr., 17, was shot once in the chest Wednesday afternoon at a home at the corner of Taft and Hayes avenues. He died shortly after being taken to the emergency room at EMH Regional Medical Center.

His death was the fourth shooting incident in the city since July 25, in which two people have been hit and two homes were fired at in the area of Middle Avenue and 13th Street. At least two of the shootings involve some of the same people, and Charles was arrested early Wednesday as he hid in some tall weeds near one of the homes that was fired upon.

Elyria police Lt. Andy Eichenlaub said officers have not yet linked the incidents.

“There’s no evidence to directly link them at this point, however, their proximity and circumstances may mean they are linked,” he said.

Eichenlaub said no one has been charged in Charles’ shooting, but an Elyria man with a long criminal record, Alverno Howse Jr., has been charged with tampering with evidence in connection with the police investigation into the fatality, Eichenlaub said. Eichenlaub would not elaborate on the charge.

Howse Jr., 19, was the victim in the first incident July 25 when he was hit in the arm while driving on Middle Avenue near 13th Street. On Tuesday, 19-year-old Diontay Spraggins was shot in the thigh in the 300 block of 13th Street. Another 19-year-old, Jocquez Ross, was charged with felonious assault in connection with Spraggins’ shooting.

About 1 a.m. Wednesday, a home at the corner of Middle Avenue and 13th Street where Ross lived was shot at, and a nearby home was also struck. No one was injured.

As police were investigating that incident, officers were called to the 300 block of 17th Street in reference to several people running through the backyards of homes toward 16th Street. Police saw four people standing in the roadway mid-block on 17th Street and all four ran, two southbound and two northbound, according to police.

A police dog found Charles hiding in the grass behind 319 17th St. As the dog was tracking the scent, Charles shouted, “You got me. I give up. Don’t let the dog get me,” according to police. As officers approached, Charles said, “I was getting chased. Don’t let the dog get me.” He was charged with obstructing official business and a curfew violation.

Chris Howse, 18, brother of Alverno Howse Jr., was found running southbound from 17th Street toward Middle Avenue and placed in custody. He was charged with obstructing official business and taken to the city jail.

The Howse brothers are known to police.

Howse Jr. was indicted in April for possessing a defaced firearm and obstructing official business and is awaiting trial in Common Pleas Court. He also is awaiting trial on two counts of aggravated menacing in Elyria Municipal Court.

In March, he was convicted of carrying a concealed weapon and placed on two years probation. He also has five convictions as a juvenile, including assault, disorderly conduct, menacing, attempted receiving stolen property and violating probation, according to juvenile court records.

His brother, Chris Howse, also has a lengthy juvenile criminal record with seven convictions, including obstructing official business, marijuana possession, chronic truancy, menacing, tobacco use or possession, receiving stolen property and a parole violation, juvenile court records show.

Charles had juvenile convictions for tobacco possession and disorderly conduct, records show.

Teen victims of gun violence since June

  • Aaron Rodriguez, 18, of Lorain was shot in the leg June 21 during a drive-by shooting as he walked near West 18th Street and Oakdale Avenue in Lorain.
  • Duane Richardson, 19, of Lorain, was shot in the foot June 21 during a drive-by shooting while walking near West 18th Street and Oakdale Avenue in Lorain. He and Rodriguez were together at the time of the shooting.
  • Christopher Hill, 16, was shot in the face June 22 while sitting in a car parked on Long Avenue at West 18th Street in Lorain. He died the next day in a Cleveland hospital.
  • Marquis McCall, 18, died after being shot in the chest June 22 at West 13th Street and Long Avenue in Lorain.
  • Alverno Howse Jr., 19, of Elyria, was shot in the arm July 25 while driving on Middle Avenue near 13th Street in Elyria.
  • Diontay Spraggins, 19, was shot in the thigh Tuesday on 13th Street in Elyria.
  • Charles “Chuckie” Howard Jr., 17, of Elyria, died after being shot in the chest Wednesday while at a house on Taft Avenue at the corner of Hayes Avenue.
  • Three others have also been victims of gun violence this summer in the parking lot of Darmo’s Cafe in Lorain Aug. 9. Melanie McDougal, 50, of Elyria, was shot in the back, Brandi Basch, 24, of Lorain, was shot in the thigh and William Martin, 27, of Lorain, was shot in both lower legs.  Basch and Martin are believed to have been together inside an SUV when they were shot. McDougal is believed to have been hit by a stray bullet as she was walking to her car.

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