Shots fired at Tribune carrier; man arrested

WARREN – Tribune Chronicle newspaper carrier Jennifer Young said she heard the gunshots, but it wasn’t until later that she realized a bullet had gone through the windshield of her father’s car Thursday morning.

On Friday, the 18-year-old Warren woman said she was still thanking God that neither she nor her father, Michael Young, 43, also of Warren, were hurt. Her dad was driving the paper route. She was sitting in the front passenger seat and running papers to customers’ doors.

“My dad has been delivering papers for years and I’ve been helping him the past six or seven at least and we’ve never had a problem, never felt like were were in danger or anything. But this was a very close call. It still almost seems unreal,” she said.

Even more disturbing was the realization that her hat, which had been on the dashboard in front of her, had a bullet hole in it. Another bullet hit the passenger side door.

The man accused of firing the shots, Darren L. Lee, 27, of 1741 West Ave. N.W., was being held at the Trumbull County Jail without bond. He is charged with felonious assault, carrying a concealed weapon, having a weapon while under disability and two counts of possession of drugs.

Lee was arraigned in Warren Municipal Court. He is due back in municipal court for a preliminary hearing at 10:15 a.m. Thursday. He is also facing an additional felonious assault charge in a separate case because there were two people in the car when it was struck by bullets.

The Youngs, who have nine newspaper routes, said they have no clue why Lee or anyone would shoot at them. They said they do not know Lee and never saw who fired the shots.

Michael Young told officers someone fired numerous shots at his vehicle around 6:35 a.m. while he and his daughter were delivering newspapers in the 1700 block of West Ave. N.W., according to a Warren police report.

He stated he had just stopped in front of 1751 West Ave. N.W., and his daughter got out of the vehicle to deliver a paper to a house. Shots “that sounded very close to him” rang out as Jennifer Young was approaching the house, the report states.

Michael Young told police he yelled at his daughter to get back into the vehicle, which she did, and that he sped off south on West Avenue.

The Youngs were a few houses away when they heard more shots. Michael Young called police while waiting at the intersection of West and Roosevelt streets.

He stated that while waiting for police he noticed that the right, lower corner of the windshield had a bullet hole in it.

The vehicle had a second bullet hole on the right front passenger side door, police reported. Police collected three bullet fragments from the dashboard and passenger footwell.

When officers went to 1751 West Ave. N.W., several neighbors began yelling from their front doors that the person doing the shooting had just run east down Idylwild Street, the report states. Police searched the area and saw a man matching the description of the one they were given and running east down the middle of Idylwild.

The man, later identified as Lee, heeded the police order to stop running, turned, faced the police cruiser and dropped to his knees with his hands in the air, reports state.

Lee told police as he was being handcuffed that he had a handgun on him, reports state. Police recovered a Ruger 9 mm from Lee’s right front pocket. They said the gun had one round in the chamber and three more in the magazine. Police said Lee also had two large baggies of suspected crack cocaine and heroin, and $135 cash.

Police returned to 1751 West Ave. and determined it was Lee’s residence. Police found three 9 mm shell casings during a search of the driveway and yard.

Michael Young said he has been delivering Tribune Chronicle newspapers for about 17 years and he’s not planning to stop. Jennifer Young, a student at Warren G. Harding High School, also said the incident won’t keep her from delivering the newspapers.

“You hear about people being shot, but like I said, we’ve never ever had a problem. It’s what we do every single day. You don’t really think about it. We need our jobs. I think it’s a shame something like this could happen and that you have to worry about things like this. I’m just thankful we’re OK. It could have been a lot worse,” she said.