Three city homicides in less than two weeks illustrate the complexity of Johnstown’s crime problem, police Chief Craig Foust said.
• Lemmel Myers, a state parolee living in the West End, is accused of shooting Leslie Schetrompf, 37, on July 25 in a Fairfield Avenue apartment building.
• Jonathan R. Kuzma, 31, is charged with beating his father, John P. Kuzma, to death with a hammer inside their Moxham home on Aug. 3.
• Demetrius D. Gibson, 21, of Tire Hill is being sought in Tuesday morning’s fatal stabbing of his former girlfriend, Elizabeth Miller, also 21 and of Tire Hill.
Schetrompf’s murder appears to be a typical drug-related crime, Foust said.
Myers apparently shot Schetrompf after he and his girlfriend came to collect a $20 debt. Police found heroin, money, ammunition and a firearm inside the building.
John Kuzma’s death is more complicated, Foust noted. Police have said the younger Kuzma robbed his father’s safe for drug money after the murder, but Foust said there is more background to the crime.
“I believe the cause of that was domestic,” he said.
And even though it happened around 4:30 a.m. off of a city street in Moxham, Foust said Miller’s death also appears to have stemmed from domestic abuse.
“There is no way to explain it,” Foust said. “It’s just tragic for that young girl and her family.”
Foust hopes the publicity from Miller’s murder will spotlight the dangers of domestic violence and encourage other victims to take action.
“Somebody, somewhere, in that situation may think, ‘That could be me; I have to get out of this relationship,’ ” Foust said.
“That saves her life.”
Cambria County Victim Services and the Women’s Help Center in Johnstown stand ready to help victims find protection and resources to free themselves from abusive partners, he added.
Randy Griffith covers the Johnstown Housing Authority for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/photogriffer57.