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Suspect identified in Thursday morning gunfire in Steubenville

STEUBENVILLE — A Mingo Junction man is in custody in connection with shots fired Thursday morning in Steubenville’s South End, the second of two shooting incidents to rock the city in less than an hour.

Thursday’s gunfire comes on the heels of a violent weekend that left a 24-year-old woman dead, two others wounded and vehicles and homes riddled with bullets after three separate shooting incidents in the early morning hours Sunday.

At this point, City Manager Jim Mavromatis said there’s no reason to believe Thursday’s shooting incidents are related, nor do they appear to be connected to Sunday’s violence.

“They were different events, not connected at all,” he said, adding, “(And) at this point, we don’t (see) any relationship to the ones over the weekend.”

Mavromatis said at 9:10 a.m. Thursday, an unidentified man was shot in the 1200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue.

His injuries required treatment but were not life-threatening, he said. But, because the shooting victim refused to talk to police, Mavromatis said that investigation is effectively terminated.

“He won’t talk to anybody,” Mavromatis said.

About a half hour later, Mavromatis said shots were fired in the 400 block of South Sixth Street. No one was injured, he said, “but citizens came forward with a description of the suspect.”

Weirton police spotted the suspect’s vehicle at the Holiday Inn in Weirton. The alleged shooter, who has not been identified, was taken into custody as he left the hotel.

“He was arrested in Weirton,” Mavromatis said. “With the assistance of Weirton Police, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department and Steubenville police, we were able to track him down.”

Weirton Police Chief Rob Alexander said they’d been alerted to the shootings and provided a description of the suspect and vehicle, and were on the lookout for both when they spotted the vehicle at the hotel.

He said the arrest was made when they spotted a man matching the description leaving the hotel, adding, “It was definitely the guy.”

The suspect has been identified as Ji’onn Morris, 18, of 400 St. Claire Ave., Mingo Junction. Officials said this morning he was being held pending an extradition order on charges on felonious assault and improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle. His vehicle has been towed back to Steubenville.

An adult and a juvenile who were charged with obstruction of justice when they ran from the scene when police arrived were not involved in the incident, authorities said.

Mavromatis said the Sixth Street incident remains under investigation, as are Sunday’s shootings.

“We ask the public if they know anything, please call,” Mavromatis said. “They do not have to get involved, just call with information.”

He said city police have been “tracking down every lead” since the Sunday morning shooting death of Mytia Barker, a Big Red sports standout and Youngstown State University graduate getting ready to take her LSAT test for law school. That shooting happened near the intersection of Claire Avenue and Pine Street.

Locals say Barker had been home to take part in a memorial.

Also injured in that incident Sunday was 31-one-year-old O’Brian Moore, 434 S. 6th St., who was shot in the leg. Less than an hour later, police had said 22-year-old Marquelle McClung, 730 N. 7th St., Apt 210, was shot in the leg while and she and several other individuals were walking in the 400 block of South Sixth Street en route to Club 106.

Two hours later police said someone drove past Club 106 at Sixth and South streets “and started shooting.” No one was injured, but vehicles were caught in the crossfire.

“Our officers spent almost 14 hours yesterday going through video footage (from Sunday),” Mavromatis said. “Anybody who has any information, please call police.”

(Managing Editor Craig Howell contributed to this report.)

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