Warren police hunt for attackers in deadly home invasion

WARREN – Moments after her front door was kicked late Monday night, Lisa Prater told a police dispatcher it was two young white men who fired several shots at her and a friend who died in the attack.

”He’s dying! He’s gonna die if you don’t get here soon,” Prater told the county 911, expressing concern over James Levels, 64, of Beal Street N.W. Levels was at the home of Prater, 918 South St. S.E., shortly before 11:30 p.m. when the shooting began.

Prater, 48, was frantic at times, repeating the fact that both had been shot in a bedroom of the two-story pale green frame house near the intersection with Logan Avenue S.E. ”We got shot! We got shot! We got shot!” she blurted out after suffering gunshot wounds to the arm and leg.

She explained on the taped conversation with the dispatcher that she had no idea where the two attackers ran after the shooting. Police radio traffic indicated two possible suspects with masks or bandannas were spotted leaving the scene.

Police on Tuesday said they still lack a motive like robbery in the case.

Detectives were speaking to Prater at Trumbull Memorial Hospital, where she was in stable condition and being treated for the bullet wounds.

An official ruling in Levels’ death was pending from the coroner, who performed an autopsy later Tuesday. It’s believed Levels was shot in the chest more than once.

Lt. Jeff Cole, a detective with Warren police, said it was the city’s first homicide of the year, and in fact the first time anyone was seriously injured in gunfire in 2014.

Cole said he wasn’t aware of the relationship between the two victims. Both were found in the bedroom of the house by the first officer arriving at the scene.

Tuesday morning a judge issued a bench warrant for Prater, who since she was hospitalized failed to show up for a court date in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court where she faces a fifth-degree felony charge of possession of crack cocaine in connection with an arrest by Warren police Jan. 1.

Prater, formerly of Elizabeth Avenue S.E. and Atlantic Street N.W., also has convictions for loitering to engage in prostitution, a misdemeanor, in 2006; possession of drug paraphernalia in 2002; and disorderly conduct while intoxicated in 1995, according to court records.

Levels was sentenced to five years probation June 25, 2012, after a conviction for cocaine possession stemming from an arrest July 13, 2011, by Warren police.