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Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Slain teen a suspected H-Block gang member

10:06 |

16-year-old South Side male found in a pool of blood with bullets in his chest Saturday was part of one of the city's youngest and most potentially dangerous street gangs, though detectives said they do not believe the killing was gang related.

Brandon Adkins, 16, 372 E. Philadelphia Ave., who was shot to death Saturday at 3124 South Ave., was part of the youth gang H-Block, whose territory includes Hilton Avenue on the city's South Side.

The Mahoning County coroner ruled the death the city's seventh homicide this year. The report said Adkins died from gunshot wounds to his back and abdomen.

Reports said officers found Adkins lying in a large pool of blood with a large angry crowd around him that caused officers to call for additional backup.

Witnesses said they awoke to gunshots and discovered Adkins lying in the driveway.

Another witness told officers Adkins was involved in disputes with two other males at the Ally's Food Mart.

Youngstown chief of detectives Rod Foley said Tuesday the investigation did not reveal anything that involved gang activity, and noted investigators were making progress.

The Tribune Chronicle learned of Adkins' suspected involvement in the gang during a probe of the city's gang culture.

Adkins recently had been released from the Juvenile Detention Center, where he was being held in connection to a burglary.

Foley described the gang as a hodge-podge of kids who grew up in the same area. He said they normally picked easy targets and would occasionally skip school to burglarize homes.

''A lot of times these guys are hit and miss with their everyday activities,'' he said.

The presence of H-Block in the area caused several residents to move from the area and others to consider moving. The gang has about a dozen members, including one teenager that started the gang whom law enforcement members have compared to notorious Youngstown killer William J. "Flip'' Williams.

Williams was executed in 2005 after being convicted of four counts of aggravated murder in 1991 for killing three men in order to keep his monopoly of the city's drug trade.

Law enforcement has been aware of the gang since 2009, during a string of robberies that occurred on and around South Avenue. The victims reported being robbed by kids.

''Some of these kids don't think about tomorrow,'' Foley said. ''They don't want to go to jail, but they don't fear it. They don't fear consequences.''


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