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Man, 19, in custody in shooting, chase

Friday, December 17, 2010

By John W. Goodwin Jr.


A 19-year-old city man is in Mahoning County jail on a $150,000 bond after purportedly firing multiple shots into an occupied vehicle and a home then leading police on a high-speed chase through the South Side.

Hance Dennis, 19, of Euclid Avenue, was arraigned Thursday before Magistrate Anthony Sertick of Youngstown Municipal Court on felony charges of complicity to felonious assault and failure to comply with the order of a police officer. The magistrate set bond at $75,000 on each of the charges.

According to police reports, the incident leading to Dennis’ arrest started just before 11:30 p.m. Wednesday at an East Ravenwood Avenue house. A 22-year-old woman and 19-year-old man who live at the address told police Dennis and another man had fired multiple shots at them as they sat in a car.

The man and woman told officers they had just arrived at the home and were about to pull into the driveway when they noticed two men standing in the driveway. The two men, they told officers, opened fire on the car as they came to a stop in front of the house.

The man and woman told police they pulled away from the house but could see the two men turn and begin firing at the house. The man told officers one of the shooters had a “chopper,” a street name for an AK-47 assault rifle, and the other man was shooting a handgun.

The Ravenwood home’s 57-year-old owner told police the men had knocked on the door moments before the car pulled up and asked for her 18-year-old nephew.

The homeowner told officers she heard a series of gunshots shortly after the men knocked on the door. Police found five bullet holes in the car and a series of bullet holes in the outside of the house.

Officers, reports said, followed footprints left by the shooters one street over to Hilton Avenue. Another officer noticed a car fleeing down Hilton Avenue and began to follow the vehicle. One officer waited in the street at Midlothian Boulevard and Helena Avenue with cruiser lights on and his weapon drawn in an attempt to stop the car.

Reports say the driver drove around the officer and led police on a lengthy chase through the South Side, stopping only after the driver lost control of the car and ran into a fence in the 200 block of East Judson Avenue. The two men inside jumped from the vehicle and ran.

Dennis was cornered and arrested by officers after a short foot chase. Police did not find the other man in the car but did find a loaded assault rifle and a handgun believed to have been used by the men. No one was injured in the shooting or chase.