WARREN – Mayor Doug Franklin said that in the aftermath of back-to-back fatal shootings in recent weeks and rumors of continuing threats, he is consulting with city leaders on how to keep residents updated and answer concerns raised throughout the community.
Franklin was joined in a news conference Wednesday at City Hall by U.S. Rep. Timothy J. Ryan, D-Niles, and Steven Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Ohio Northern District, in what the mayor called “an affirmation” of the collaborative relationship among city, state and federal officials.
Franklin said he hopes that efforts to keep the public informed as much as possible will help quell tensions the city has experienced recently.
“We are working on protocol to get information out there responsibly and to put something in place to alleviate some of the concerns,” he said.
Even then, some information cannot be disclosed because it could jeopardize an ongoing investigation, he said.
The city has been plagued with threats, rumors and tension since the early Oct. 19 police-involved fatal shooting of Taemarr Walker near Palmyra and Risher roads.
A week later, his brother, Tashawn Walker, was charged with murder in connection with the shooting death of Richard C. Rollison IV, 24, at the Sunoco service station on West Market Street early Oct. 26.
Tashawn Walker, who waived his right to have an extradition hearing in Houston last week, is expected to be arraigned in Warren Municipal Court today.
City residents have voiced concerns that they were not informed that an arrest warrant had been issued for Tashawn Walker the same day that Rollison was killed, some stating they didn’t know who to be on the lookout for.
City residents voiced concerns after police converged on a Jackson Street S.W. almost immediately after Rollison was shot. Some said they weren’t told why or if they were in danger.
The community again voiced concerns about the increased presence of Ohio State Highway Patrol units throughout the city. OSHP officials confirmed Warren Police asked for help in saturating the area with more police presence as a precaution.
Last week, security at Warren G. Harding High School in Warren was beefed up after rumors of a “shootout” at the school were posted on Facebook.
School officials canceled the high school football game last Friday under the advisement of Warren police and city officials after a threat was made that something was going to happen at the game. City police have not disclosed the exact nature of the threat – another cause of concern among some residents.
However, officials have said threats have been made against city police officers and “others” in the community.
Walker was arrested Oct. 28 by U.S. Marshals at a home in Bayton, Texas.
Earlier that day, city police arrested Michael L. Green Jr., 32, in connection with shots fired at a home on Kenwood Drive S.W. listed recently as the residence of Taemarr Walker. Green is facing two counts of carrying a concealed weapon and two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
His case was bound over to a Trumbull County grand jury. He is being held at the Trumbull County Jail without bond.
Franklin said city officials have been evaluating and documenting all threats. He said the turmoil has been caused by “outside” as well as “inside” influences and that he is also hoping that the investigation by the State Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation into the shooting death of Taemarr Walker is resolved quickly and helps level off some of the unrest.
Taemarr Walker’s ties to both Warren and Detroit are among several connections between the two cities that local officials have investigated involving dozens of people and a slew of crimes from drug possession and robbery to felonious assault and murder.
Ryan said, “If you look at cities who are able to address these issues, they have a coordinated effort at all levels of government and we want to make sure the citizens of Warren know we have a united front, a continued effort to continue to push back.”