2 arrested in shooting near YSU campus

YOUNGSTOWN – An early morning shooting Sunday near Youngstown State University sent one woman to the hospital and two men to the county jail.

Brittany N. Johnson, 23, of Bedford Heights, was taken to St. Elizabeth Health Center after she was shot about 2:40 a.m. near the campus, where she is a student. As of late Sunday, she was listed in stable condition.

According to reports, Johnson was riding in a black 2009 Dodge Avenger with three other people in the area of Pennsylvania and Madison avenues when they heard a series of loud “pops.”

A woman who told police she was sitting next to Johnson in the back seat said she looked out the window and saw a man, later identified as Sylean Wilson, 19, of Pittsburgh, shooting at the vehicle.

The woman yelled for the driver to go, and as they drove off Johnson said she was shot, according to the report. Police interviewed the witnesses at St. Elizabeth but were unable to question Johnson because she was in surgery.

Two bullet holes were found in the rear driver’s side door and the vehicle was taken by police as evidence.

The incident was observed by an officer who had arrived at the scene on reports of gunfire. The officer reported that a black male, approximately 6-foot 4-inches tall, and wearing dark pants and a gray hooded sweatshirt, fired multiple shots into a dark-colored vehicle.

According to police, the man then fled to an apartment building at 801 Pennsylvania where another man, who police identified as Rashaad Lewis, 19, of Pittsburgh, was holding the door open. The officer tried to follow, but Lewis closed the door, the report states.

Eventually police were let into the apartment, where they found Wilson and several other males – one of which was trying to remove the blinds from a window.

After clearing the room, the officers found a black .22-caliber handgun between the window panes. Other people at the apartment told police that Wilson fired the gun only after being shot at first.

Officers matched the description of Wilson with information given by the witnesses at the hospital and took both he and Lewis into custody. They performed gunshot residue tests on both men.

While being booked, Wilson gave police a false identification. Police however discovered his ID hidden in his underwear and charged him with obstructing official business and felonious assault. Lewis was charged with obstructing official business.

Both men were taken to the Mahoning County Jail, where their clothing was taken as evidence.

Ron Cole, director of communications for YSU, said the university sent an email on the shooting about 6 a.m. to students, faculty and staff. Cole said the email let them know that there was not a threat to the campus since the suspects were in custody.

The area where the Sunday shooting occurred is patrolled by both YSU and Youngstown city forces.

Typically, Cole said, if there is an immanent danger, students and staff will be sent a text alert as opposed to an email. He attributed the quick response to Sunday’s incident to the combined police forces patrolling the area.

“Our campus,” Cole said, “is traditionally considered one of the safest in the state.”

Sunday’s shooting comes a little more than two years after a YSU student was shot to death at an off-campus party.

Jamail Johnson, 25, was killed when he tried to break up a fight at the Omega Psi Phi fraternity house on Indiana Avenue early Feb. 6, 2011. Eleven other people were injured in that incident.

mthompson@tribtoday.com