Suspect in shooting eludes capture

WELLSVILLE – Village police believe they may know who fatally shot 36-year-old Taru Smith Tuesday night, but the suspect has thus far evaded capture.

“We’ve been following a lot of leads, talking to people. We’re 99 percent sure of who the man is we’re looking for,” Lt. Ed Wilson said Wednesday.

Although he was not identified Wednesday, a man is wanted for questioning, according to Wilson, who said he is not from Wellsville.

“We pretty much think he left the area,” Wilson said, adding that while he’s uncertain whether the man and Smith knew each other, the general public is in no danger from the alleged assailant.

Smith was shot several times on Clover Alley just before 6 p.m. Tuesday when someone in a passing car fired into his vehicle. He drove up 12th Street, across Main Street to the front of the police department, where his vehicle struck the rear of a parked car.

He was transported to East Liverpool City Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Smith’s body has been transported to Summit County for an autopsy, according to Wilson.

Village Councilwoman Nancy Murray said Wednesday the shooting took place just as the regular council meeting was getting under way, and members were surprised when they learned what was happening outside the front doors of Village Hall.

She said the meeting was brief, and when members exited, they found the area around the building barricaded with fire trucks and yellow police tape.

Wilson said that anyone who has any information about the shooting should contact the police department at (330) 532-1522.