Alleged city shooter remains at large

STEUBENVILLE – Police Chief Bill McCafferty said today area law enforcement officials still are looking for Tahj Jackson in connection with a Monday morning shooting at the Heritage Place Apartments on Market Street.

“We are looking for him and we hope he turns himself in soon,” McCafferty said early today.

The 23-year-old Jackson is facing three counts of felonious assault after he allegedly shot Torrance Lyda, 21, of Steubenville.

Lyda was taken by medical helicopter to a Pittsburgh hospital where he underwent two surgeries.

Also wounded during the shooting spree in the apartment complex parking lot were by-standers Guillermo Hernandez, 35, of 815 Market St. and his 5-year-old son, Cruzito Hernandez.

Guillermo was treated and released at Trinity Medical Center West, and Cruzito was transported to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. He was released from the hospital Tuesday.

McCafferty said detectives are working on a motive in the shooting. He said at least 10 shots were fired during the brief encounter in the parking lot

The car Jackson allegedly fled in after the shooting was located at a house on Valley Glen Road in the Goulds area about three hours after the shootings.

The car was towed to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, where it was processed by an agent with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

The man who police believe was driving the car in the getaway was interviewed by police detectives, McCafferty said.

This is not the first time shots were fired at Lyda. Multiple shots were fired at Lyda and a group of men who were walking in the 800 block of South Street on Sept. 3.

Lyda was charged with having a weapon as a convicted felon in the case and was sentenced on May 6 to serve six months in the Eastern Ohio Correction Center. He was scheduled to report to the center on July 1.

Anthony “Cadillac” Elmore, 29, of Steubenville, who was found guilty by a common pleas court jury of felonious assault, with a firearm specification, and having a weapon as a convicted drug offender, was sentenced to the maximum of 14 years in prison.

Elmore was one of three people charged in connection with the gunfight. A felonious assault charge against Lyda was dismissed after Elmore’s trial.

Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin said Elmore and William D. Ross III, 19, of Steubenville were on a porch on Jefferson Street when three males, including Lyda walked by. Looks were exchanged and Elmore and Ross ran ahead of Lyda through the woods and were waiting for Lyda to walk by, Hanlin said. The plan was to count to five and then open fire but Hanlin said Ross made a noise, pulled out a gun and he and Elmore began firing. Ross stumbled and then he and Elmore began firing their guns. Ross was hit with a bullet in the upper leg.

Ross was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to felonious assault, with a firearm specification.

Jackson has a history of gun convictions.

Jackson was sentenced in Jefferson County Common Pleas Court to two years in prison in February 2012 after having pleaded guilty to having a weapon under disability, obstructing official business and falsification.

City Police were called on Nov. 11, 2011, to the 100 block of South Fourth Street.

Officers reported finding seven spent shell casings. Other officers en route to the scene saw two men running east on South Street and then south on Webster Alley.

Police reported finding Jackson hiding under a bush. Officers also found a loaded .22-caliber revolver under the same bush.

Jackson also pleaded guilty to possession of drugs and improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle. A vehicle in which Jackson was a passenger was stopped by City Police on July 22, 2011. An officer noticed a baggie containing crack cocaine sticking out of Jackson’s pants pocket and found a loaded handgun on the floor of the vehicle where he was sitting.

That was the third gun conviction for Jackson. He was convicted of carrying a concealed weapon in 2009 in served nine months in prison.