YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Any Antanasia Crockett thought of that October Sunday evening escaped the gunshots.
She was driving back to her house after visiting an aunt on the South Side when she was caught in the crossfire of two groups of cars shooting at each other on Market Street and East Florida Avenue.
She’s scared now, but she wasn’t. There was no time for fear. She only had one thought: “I was just accelerating,” she said.
In fact, she didn’t even realize she’d been shot – from an AK-47 round, no less until she stopped at Jordan’s Market in Market and Cleveland to speak to a town cop. He told her she was shot.
“I fell out of the car and he said, ‘You were shot,” said Antanasia.
Youngstown Police: Wounded woman who was no target on Sunday when 47 rounds were fired
She was still in shock when she was put in the ambulance. The one thought that kept going through her head: “I couldn’t believe someone shot me.”
Her story is typical of most people who either live in a neighborhood where gun violence is widespread or who come into contact with gun violence through no fault of their own.
Police collected nearly 50 cartridges in the street that night when Antanasia was wounded. The lead detective in her case said she was either driven through a shootout or accidentally hit. Anyway, said the detective, she wasn’t the target of the shots.
However, many bullets flew around Youngstown in 2020, hitting many people as well as houses, cars and businesses. The city ended 2020 with 98 people shot dead, including 27 of the city’s 28 murder victims.
Police say one of the main drivers of the violence is people who have been banned from possessing a firearm due to a previous criminal conviction that already has a firearm. They attributed a crackdown on gun crimes in 2019, including a spotlight on people not allowed to have guns by lowering the homicide rate from 28 to 20.
Former Youngstown Police Chief Robin Lees was behind a bill that would increase penalties for people caught with guns after denied permission. He testified before the state parliament, but the bill remained in the statehouse that year. The law now knows that the prosecution has a weapon under handicap, a third degree crime. The maximum sentence is three years in prison.
The disability is a previous conviction of a crime that prohibits a person from owning a weapon.
Municipal Police have said for years that too many people convicted of the crime in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court are being suspended. A study of the court records shows that out of 264 people who were charged with a court with joint causes of action, less than half received local prison sentences.
In fact, 123 have been given jail sentences, 76 have been given suspended sentences, and 49 have been dismissed, often in federal courts, where sentences are far higher and there is little parole.
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Since an October in which 19 people were shot, three fatally, police have stepped up additional patrols, almost all of them on the south side, to search for gun perpetrators. Before the patrols, police accused only 20 people of disabled weapons on October 19. After patrols began, police charged 12 people with this crime and another 23 with other gun crimes.
The patrols are also intended to deter the shootings that ravaged the city in 2020. Gunshots occur frequently, often resulting in not only people being shot, but houses and cars as well.
Again, most of these calls are on the south side, and some streets have been magnets for shots this year, with West Boston, East Evergreen, and East Lucius streets being the hot spots for gunfire.
One person who lives in a gunshot hotspot and did not want to give his name because they feared they would be a target said that there is not much they can do in their home due to their fear of gunfire.
“We set up a room in the basement,” said the person. “We watch TV in the basement because the bullets are flying through the house. We live in the basement. “
There is also the hassle of repairing bullet damage, like holes in the windows or other parts of the house, the person said.
The person said they want to move, but over time it’s not that easy to just pack up and go.
“We want to sell our house,” said the person. “But we can’t sell a house in Youngstown with this coronavirus.”
Often times, a common issue for those arrested for not having a gun is that if they are arrested, they will not commit another crime. They are mostly caught during a traffic obstruction when a car they are in is run over because of a traffic violation.
Often times those who have been caught with a gun and are not allowed to have one say that they need a gun because they were shot before, or they know that there are people out there who are going to get it and they need it to Protection.
Edward Lightning, 37, from Shehy Street, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, the maximum, in 2019 after pleading guilty in federal court to being a felon in possession of a firearm after committing a long line of firearm-related crimes dating back to when he was 14 years old. The verdict was later overturned on appeal and remanded in the U.S. Northern District Court of Ohio for re-conviction. It was his seventh load of weapons.
During his trial, Lightning told a judge, according to court records, that he only had one gun with him because he had previously been shot and testified against others, and that he would need the gun if they wanted revenge.
“Sir, I was shot,” said Lightning to US Judge John R. Adams when he was convicted. “I understand a few things. I was shot. I testified in court … I wasn’t out there and didn’t have a gun to hurt anyone. I didn’t rob anyone. I was just trying to protect myself … I was just basically protecting myself and I know I am not allowed to be around guns, but it would be a horror like being around my area if Driving people around with assault rifles, only shooting people with assault rifles. It’s just horror, your honor. I have no excuse for that. I should not have done that [sic]. ”
Dominique Callier’s lawyer, 28, a federal judge said in a verdict that Callier told the police he needed a gun to protect himself from his enemies. Callier was sentenced to federal prison in December 2019 after being arrested by city police for holding a gun in a South Side nightclub.
Callier is banned from having a gun because he was convicted of grievous bodily harm in 2011 and a shootout in 2009 that injured two people. He had spent five years in prison before he was released.
Callier grew up in a rough neighborhood, was abandoned by his mother and his father was in jail when he was just 2 years old, the memorandum says. Circumstances forced Callier to fend for himself, which led to him getting into trouble.
At the time of his arrest, he had only been four months since he was 17, the memorandum says.
Callier was eventually sentenced to 70 months in prison.
Airki Talbott, 31, from Campbell, said a judge shortly before his conviction to 37 months in prison in November 2019 that he also needed a weapon for protection. Talbott was arrested by Youngstown police in March 2019 after a car and foot chase.
Talbott said in court he needed a gun to protect himself because of his location and reputation. As an adult, he was serving a prison term after being convicted of a serious robbery as a youth in the Common Pleas Court of Mahoning County. When asked why he’s not just moving, Talbott told U.S. Judge Benita Y. Pearson that he was afraid of being in a new place around people he wouldn’t know, but he admitted he was would likely stay out of anger if he did so.
But none of that can apply to Antanasia, a former Chaney High standout basketball player who hoped to join a college team to advance her basketball career. That dream is now being put on hold because of the 7.62mm round that shattered a bone in her leg below the knee.
“I want to play basketball again,” she said. “I love basketball.”
She also sings and taps and says she had a rap about the night she was shot.
Being wounded opened a whole host of emotions that Antanasia said she never had. Although she sounds upbeat on the phone, she said she has had depression since the night she was wounded.
She is afraid to drive again, and even if she wanted to, her car was damaged from the gunfire and it has not yet been repaired.
One of the most common feelings she said is disbelief.
“Still, it’s still shocking to this day,” said Antanasia. “I’m like ‘damn, I’m not like that.'”