The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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July 14, 2014

Johnstown Police Academy recruit killed in Oakhurst shooting

JOHNSTOWN — A Johnstown Police Academy recruit was shot dead early Sunday in Oakhurst, city police said.

Tyrone Williams, 42, a New Jersey native who had been living in Johnstown in recent years, was struck five times by gunfire near Grandinetti Avenue and Daniel Street in the housing project neighborhood.

Police were pursuing leads Sunday to determine who pulled the trigger.

“We don’t know why this happened at this point,” police Sgt. Pat Goggin said Sunday afternoon. “From what it looks like, someone started shooting at him and he ran down the street ... and fell to the ground.”

Cambria County Chief Deputy Coroner Jeffrey Lees said a gunshot wound to the chest claimed the life of Williams, who was pronounced dead at the scene at 3:19 a.m.

Williams was a married father who resided on Grass Street in the West End area, Lees said.

He was scheduled to graduate from the police academy in August, Lees said.

“It was an eye-opener. There were police officers from the city that actually knew him from being in the class at the regional police academy,” Lees said.

Lees said he did not know why Williams was in the Oakhurst neighborhood early Sunday – or why he was killed, noting police were continuing to investigate the matter.

“Someone in the neighborhood heard shots fired and they called 911,” Lees said.

One bullet was removed from Williams during an autopsy Sunday at Memorial Medical Center, Lees said. He noted he has ruled the matter a homicide.

Goggin said police processed the scene early Sunday and recovered 13 shell casings.

“Detectives are following up on information and pursuing leads,” Goggin said. He said it was unclear if shots were fired at Williams from someone on foot or in a vehicle.

“Anyone with information that could help, we’re urging them to contact us,” Goggin said.

Callers can dial the Cambria County toll-free nonemergency number, 800-281-1680.

Sunday’s shooting is the city’s fourth this year. Three have occurred in Oakhurst.

“It’s just a shame,” said Matt Hill, 46, of Oakhurst, while taking a walk just a block from the scene of Sunday’s shooting.

“I’ve been living here all my life – and it’s changed,” he said. “This kind of thing wasn’t happening here 10 years ago. Now, it’s everywhere.”

Longtime Oakhurst resident Lloyd Baxter could only shake his head in dismay at the news.

Recalling previous murders in his neighborhood, he said too many young men are turning to drugs and guns when they should be turning to the church.

“To shoot someone like that ... these people today are worse than animals,” Baxter said. “It’s happening in big and small cities everywhere now, and all we can do is keep the faith.”

“It’s sad,” he added, saying a generation of children have grown up “not learning the right lessons” or understanding that actions have consequences.

“This battle we’re seeing, it’s not just on our streets,” Baxter said. “It’s within ourselves.”

Follow Tribune-Democrat reporter David Hurst on Twitter @TDDavidHurst.

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