Charges in park shooting

WARREN – As family and friends on Wednesday were preparing for today’s funeral of a young woman fatally shot last week at a Perkins Park birthday party, city police were charging another woman in connection with her death.

Warren police Lt. Jeff Cole confirmed that Lakeisha Bell, 19, of Warren, turned herself in to law enforcement Wednesday afternoon. She is charged with involuntary manslaughter and carrying a concealed weapon.

Police said they believe Bell, who was celebrating her 19th birthday at the park, accidentally shot McKayla Hopkins, 18, of Howland.

When contacted by the Tribune Chronicle after Bell’s arrest a family member of Hopkins, who did not want her name published, said relatives did not want to comment.

Hopkins died of a single gunshot wound to her torso. Detectives were called to the birthday party after receiving reports that someone had been shot.

At the time of the shooting Bell was free on $20,000 bond. She had been charged in April with two felony counts of aggravated drug trafficking in marijuana, and was scheduled to appear at an Aug. 28 pretrial hearing in that case.

A witness to the Friday incident said someone brought a gun to the party and was showing it to people at the party.

Police said that although there were several people at the party, they all said at the time that they were not able to identify the shooter.

During a 911 call, a dispatcher asked a female caller what kind of car the shooter was in.

The caller replied “We don’t know. Our back was turned.”

Here is an excerpt of that conversation:

(shouting in the background)

Caller: Can you send an ambulance to um to um to Packard … to Perkins Park? Somebody just got shot.

Dispatcher: Somebody got shot at Perkins Park?

Caller: Yes. Can you … (yelling).

Dispatcher: All right. All right. Stay on the line? Is the shooter still there?

Caller: No. They, they left.

Dispatcher: OK. What kind of car were they in?

Caller:We don’t know. Our back was turned.

Dispatcher: OK. Stay on the line. Let me get an ambulance on the line.

A second caller who identified himself as Bob Plant told the dispatcher it was a single shot down by the two shelters near the Warren Community Amphitheatre. He told the dispatcher he did not see what the shooter looked like because it was too far away.