Gunplay is becoming common in neighborhood

WARREN – The quiet afternoon Nicole Nevison had planned for her 24th birthday was abruptly interrupted Tuesday when gunfire erupted outside an apartment building along Tod Avenue N.W.

Nevison, who lives in Trumbull Homes, was at a friend’s residence at Stonegate Place Apartments around 4:30 p.m. when she heard several pops that she said sounded like fireworks.

“We were just playing some video games, relaxing, when all of a sudden we heard pop, pop, pop,” she said. “We looked but didn’t see anyone. When we came outside there were all these bullets on the sidewalk. It was crazy.”

Warren police were called to that area two days in a row to investigate reports of shots being fired.

About 5:30 p.m. Wednesday police received reports that shots were fired at a van near the apartments. After a search of the area, police said they did not find any shell casings, a victim or a suspect.

However, Samuel Currie, who lives nearby, said he heard gunshots both days.

“I wasn’t there and I didn’t see it, but I heard it,” Currie said. “I’ve lived here over 30 years and this used to be a really nice neighborhood. We used to have block parties and everything. But it’s changed. Everything has changed.”

Police and residents said the scenario has become all-too common during warmer weather the past few years. This week, residents said they hear gunshots more often and earlier in the day when they are outside with their children.

“The sad thing is that while these guys are shooting it up someone else could get hurt in the crossfire,” said Warren Police Lt. Martin Gargas, the lead investigator.

On Tuesday, city police were looking for at least three people believed to have been involved in an altercation that afternoon that resulted in an exchange of gunfire outside the apartments.

No injuries were reported. However, the mirror on apartment resident Melanie Marinelli’s vehicle was shot up.

“With that many shots and everything it’s amazing no one was hurt, especially since it’s been nice out,” she said. “But it happens around here. It happens a lot.”

On Tuesday, police recovered several shell casings outside the apartment building. They also looked down the street, along the sidewalks and in several grassy areas nearby. Police said they had an idea of at least one person they believed might be involved. However, no one has been charged.

Police spoke to several people, including at least one witness, according to reports.

“Basically, it’s a matter of several people we think got into an altercation that resulted in gun play,” Gargas said.

Amanda George, 23, who moved into Stonegate three years ago, said the recent gunfire has been unnerving.

“I know when you live in government housing you can expect some stuff to go on. But nothing like this. It kind of scared me. I have a 3-year-old. We could have been outside. This was in broad daylight, in the afternoon. It’s amazing no one was hurt.”

Other neighborhood residents, who did not want their names published, said reported hearing at least a dozen shots each day.

Currie said he’s concerned that crimes initiated at the apartment complex is taking over the neighborhood.

“They need to pull that place down. If they can’t control what goes on there, they need to pull it down,” he said.