Friday, October 19, 2018 Elyria 49°


PHOTOS: Big gang sweep in Lorain nets 20 people; 5 arrested in South Lorain murder


LORAIN — In an effort to curb growing violence in the city, Lorain police and several other law enforcement agencies launched a massive sweep Tuesday and today, arresting 20 people on charges ranging from drug trafficking to murder.

Only one person — 24-year-old Artis Taylor — who was indicted as part of the operations of a special police task force managed to elude authorities, Lorain police Lt. James Rohner said in a news release.

More mugshots below.

Five people were charged in connection with the Oct. 18 death of 32-year-old Eric Witcher, who died from a heart attack following a fight outside a Lorain bar that involved more than a dozen people. Facing murder and involuntary manslaughter charges are Jason Fowler, 24, Billy Gilbert, 25, Randy Atkinson, 29, Lantous Thorpe, 22, and Cameron Seymore, 27.

Also facing charges for the Oct. 18 fight are Terry Atkinson, Correy Hill, Freddie Sanchez and Bryan Atkinson, according to secret indictments unsealed earlier today.

Facing charges ranging from participation in a criminal gang and drugs to felonious assault for other incidents are Bohannon Miller, Eddie Gage, Brandon Johnson, William Blake, Maurice Palmer, Avery Taylor, Evan Williams, Andrew Lorenzana, Raymond Fowler III, Brandon Johnson and Oneta Roberts. Bryan Atkinson is also facing gang and drug charges in addition to felonious assault and riot charges stemming from the Oct. 18 fight.

Police seized five guns, 1,626 grams of marijuana, 148 grams of powder cocaine, 42 grams of crack and $3,700 in cash during the investigation.

Rohner said the task forced used strategies that targeted guns, gangs and drug trafficking. Those tactics involved examining crime patterns, identifying repeat offenders and concentrating on their activities and associates, Rohner said.

Lorain police Chief Cel Rivera said in the news release that the investigation is ongoing.

“Violence imposes a heavy burden on a community, and gun violence takes a particularly heavy toll,” Rivera said. “We know that this violence is usually concentrated among groups of serious offenders, and remarkably clustered among high risk youth in high risk places at high risk times.”

Anyone with information of Artis Taylor is asked to call Lorain police at (440) 204-2105.

Read Thursday's Chronicle for more on this story.

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