Police nab shooting suspect

YOUNGSTOWN – Police arrested a suspect in Tuesday’s North Side shooting that killed one and wounded another.

Willie Wilks Jr., 41, was arrested Wednesday in the shooting death of Ororo Wilkins, 20, and wounding of Alexander Morales, 24. Wilks is charged with aggravated murder and attempted aggravated murder for the attack at 725 Park Ave.

Youngstown police said Wilks was taken into custody by U.S. Marshal’s Task Force about 1:45 p.m. Wednesday following a short foot and vehicle chase. Police spotted Wilks in a vehicle and chased him into the Rockford Village Housing Development area on the city’s East Side, where he ran into a wooded area and was eventually caught.

A semi-automatic handgun and $1,680 was confiscated, the police report states.

Wilks was taken to the Youngstown Police Department for questioning before being booked into the Mahoning County Jail, where he will await arraignment.

Police said Wilks was looking for Wilkins’ brother. Wilkins was visiting the home of a relative on Park Avenue. She was sitting a the porch and holding a 5-month-old baby when she was shot in the head. The child was uninjured, police said.

Alexander attempted to run inside the house when firing began and was hit. He is recovering in St. Elizabeth Health Center, police said.

The baby Wilkins was holding belongs to her best friend, Renea Jenkins.

“She will be truly missed,” Jenkins told Tribune Chronicle newspartner WYTV 33 News. “It could have been my baby if she wouldn’t have turned and protected her.”

Jenkins said she and Wilkins have been close since they were kids.

“It hurts so much. I have to wake up every day and keep living my life knowing that I can’t call her in the morning to see if she’s coming over,” she told 33 News.

Neighbor Levenia Morris told the Tribune Chronicle that she was in her kitchen when she heard the gun shots.

“It sounded like an explosion,” she said.

Police said calls about Wilks’ whereabouts started coming in shortly after the shooting.

“We had a general location, and we put about four unmarked cars out in the area just to comb it to see if we could find him. Sure enough, we ended up passing him on the South Side,” Youngstown Police Lt. Gerard Slattery told 33 News.

“Once we entered Rockford Village (on the East Side) though, he then spotted our trail. He bailed out of the car, jumped the fence in the back, and we were able to go over and catch him right here.”

According to records, Wilks served 11 years in prison on 1991 convictions of involuntary manslaughter, two counts of felony assault, three weapons violations and drug abuse after shooting three people when he was 18.

The death is the sixth homicide the city has recorded in 2013. Last year it had 26.