The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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July 14, 2014

Authorities ask for public’s help with Oakhurst shooting investigation

JOHNSTOWN — Johnstown police and the district attorney’s office are asking the public’s help in finding the person who gunned down a police academy recruit early Sunday.

Tyrone Williams, 42, was shot five times near Grandinetti Avenue and Daniel Street in the Oakhurst section of the city.

Police are without a suspect and motive in the shooting.

Authorities are reaching out to the public for help.

“We’ve got a lot of reports of people running from the scene,” police Chief Craig Foust said. “We’ve had very few people come forward and say, ‘Hey, this is what I saw.’ ”

Foust and District Attorney Kelly Callihan made the appeal at a news conference Monday at the city Public Safety Building on Washington Street.

Williams, a New Jersey native now living on Grass Street in the West End, was scheduled to graduate from the Johnstown Regional Police Academy in Richland Township in August.

It’s unclear why Williams was in Oakhurst at that hour.

Foust called Williams a “stand-up guy.”

“I want to stress that there is nothing at this point to indicate that drugs were involved at all,” Foust said. “There’s nothing to indicate that he was involved in anything other than being in a public place at a certain time.”

Williams died at the scene, Chief Deputy Coroner Jeffrey Lees said Sunday.

Authorities would not say what caliber of gun killed Williams. They are searching for the weapon.

Cambria County Crime Stoppers is offering up to $2,000 for information leading to the arrest of the shooter.  

“We’re dependant on citizens who see things go down, or have information, to come forward in cases like this,” Callihan said.

“You might have information you might think is insignificant. Every tip the police get will be chased down,” she said.

The shooting is the fourth homicide in Johnstown this year and the third in the Oakhurst neighborhood.

Residents erected a makeshift memorial with candles and flowers for Williams on Grandinetti Avenue.

The grim outpost of mourning is the latest reminder of the city’s increasing violence.

Drugs is the hallmark of much of the violence, Foust said.

“We’ve been working very hard to eliminate that and keep it under control,” he said. “We’ve got to get the community behind us.

“You don’t have to like the police but we want to do our job and protect you,” he said. “This is your community and you need to step forward and give us the help to take your community back.”

Patrick Buchnowski is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @PatBuchnowskiTD.

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