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18-year-old charged in shooting death of matriarch

WARREN — An 18-year-old man was indicted by a Trumbull County grand jury, accused of shooting a family matriarch to death last February.

Shamar Askew, of Homewood Avenue SE, is charged with two counts of murder with firearm specifications, improperly discharging firearms at or into a habitation with firearms specifications and tampering with evidence.

Askew is accused of slaying Ruth Lewis, 89, who was sitting in her wheelchair Feb. 28 in the living room of 3178 Starlite drive when she was struck in the back with a bullet. She was visiting on a Sunday with family members planning her son’s funeral. The son had died of cardiac trouble days earlier.

Askew, who is locked up at the Trumbull County Juvenile Detention Center, is scheduled to be arraigned 9 a.m. Monday before Common Pleas Judge W. Wyatt McKay.

According to Warren police reports, it appeared the woman was shot through the window as someone fired at the house. The report did not give a reason for the shooting.

Several Trumbull County 911 calls were placed as witnesses heard several shots, five to 10. One caller said a silver vehicle and a white sport utility vehicle were driving erratically toward Southern Boulevard when she heard the shots, a report states.

Lewis was overseeing five generations of children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren, her family said.

A mother of eight, her extended family numbers in the range of 150, her daughters said.

She and late husband Robert Lewis founded R&R BBQ, and she had the beauty shop Magic Mirror on Niles Road. She worked at Packard Electric for 15 years and had worked in construction.

If convicted of all charges, Askew could face a possible 30 year to life prison sentence with each firearm specification adding three years to the minimum total.

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