STEUBENVILLE - The city is about to step up its campaign against lawbreakers in the wake of recent shootings and other high-profile crimes.
Steubenville Police Chief William McCafferty joined city Manager Cathy Davison and Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin in announcing the arrests of two suspects earlier in the week, and to deliver a message to those involved in breaking the law, during a press conference Thursday on the steps of the City Municipal Building.
McCafferty said those arrested included Darson E. Williams Jr., 37, who was indicted in February on two counts of improperly discharging a firearm into a house and single counts of felonious assault, with a firearm specification, and having a weapon as a convicted felon; and Westley Bowling, 25, of 241 S. Fifth St., who was arrested by City Police and charged with having a weapon as a convicted felon.
"(Williams) already has been indicted," said McCafferty, adding Williams is being held in the Jefferson County jail on $250,000 bond. "He's now back here to face charges."
McCafferty said Williams was involved in an incident of shots fired at an occupied vehicle on Dec. 27 in the 500 block of Maxwell Avenue. The intended victim wasn't injured, police reported. The chief also said the Allegheny County Sheriff's Department also found drug-related warrants out of Allegheny County, including a domestic relations warrant, and began seeking Williams. He was apprehended by police on Feb. 2 and is now in Steubenville to face charges.
Also during the press conference, McCafferty said a member of the Jefferson County Drug Task Force was working with a Ohio adult parole officer in an unmarked vehicle checking on parolees when Bowling was seen in a car at Sunset and Belleview boulevards.
McCafferty said police believe Bowling was involved in a shooting at an apartment Monday in the 400 block of South Fifth Street. Police said people outside the apartment returned fire. Two apartments were hit by stray bullets, but no one was hit with the gunfire, police said.
Bowling was sentenced in July 2005 to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to carrying a concealed weapon, having a gun as a convicted felon and tampering with evidence. McCafferty said Bowling had two bags of marijuana when arrested.
"We're working hard on the evidence, and we hope to have more (information on possible charges) in the future," said McCafferty during the press conference.
"This is the beginning of a citywide crackdown," said Hanlin. "We want to send a message that we won't tolerate this here.
"I'm also asking the public for tips (on lawbreakers)," Hanlin continued. "It's going to take the entire community ... to stop this."
Davison echoed Hanlin and McCafferty's comments.
"With all of us working together two arrests have been made," said Davison, adding she had a message to deliver to those breaking the law in Steubenville. "If you break the law in our community it will not be tolerated."
Several concerned citizens also attended Thursday's press conference. Teresa DiCarlantonio, president of the Hilltop Community Development Corp., said while she welcomed the arrests made and the tone of the press conference, the city needs to lead the way to put an end to the crime and violence.
"We need to get aggressive about this problem," said DiCarlantonio. "Our law enforcement needs to make itself visible. We have a problem up there."
DiCarlantonio added she would like to see more police presence in neighborhoods that have a history of criminal activity.
"We need our leaders to step forward and address this situation," she said, adding neighborhood watch committees are active. "(The leaders) are the only ones that can do it. We're willing to do our part, we're involved."