Homicide and vaccine deployment top three on list of biggest stories of the year | Local news


Editor’s Note: A few weeks ago, the Tribune provided readers with what we believe to be the most important stories of the year in Crawford County. We then asked our readers to rank the stories from # 1 (most important) to # 12 (least important).

Today we present stories # 3-2. Numbers 12 to 10 were on Monday, numbers 9 to 8 on Tuesday, numbers 7 to 6 on Wednesday, and numbers 5 to 4 on Thursday. The next one is the main story on Saturday.

• N ° 3: A 19-year-old is shot dead in an apartment near Diamond Park: An alleged robbery attempt by a group consisting mostly of teenagers left another teenager dead in a Walnut Street apartment after an early morning robbery last July.

Nathaniel Eric Harris, 19, was shot three times just after 3 a.m. on July 3 and died in his apartment upstairs at 376½ Walnut St. from a gunshot wound to the head, police say .

Three teenagers remain in custody in Crawford County Jail, facing criminal homicide and other charges in connection with the incident. Authorities continue to search for another teenager who was believed to play the role of “inside man” and a 25-year-old man who encountered the teenagers on the way to the incident and allegedly participated.

As disturbing as the murder was less than two blocks from Diamond Park, the details of the arrests and subsequent hearings painted an even more shocking picture of what would have happened.

At a hearing in November for two of his alleged co-conspirators, Qwamae Sherene said he skipped soccer practice on Friday afternoon and instead spent an evening “smoking and chilling out.” As he and three other teenagers hatched a plan to rob Harris, who they believed he would have both cash and marijuana in his apartment.

Sherene, who was 17 at the time of the incident and now faces homicide and other charges, was testifying against 16-year-old Kavan Maloin Boitnott, who is accused by Meadville Police of actually shooting the gunfire that hit Harris, and 18-year-old Jayden Isaiah Speed. , who faces criminal homicide and other charges for his alleged role in the break-in.

Martavious Kendre Stout, who was 16 at the time, and Timothy T. Bolden, 25, who were not apprehended, also face charges in the incident. According to Sherene’s testimony, Stout, who was inside the apartment at the time of the break-in, was supposed to leave the apartment door unlocked and text the others regarding the money and the marijuana, but didn’t did nothing.

Sherene, Boitnott and Speed ​​met Bolden as they walked to Harris’ apartment, Sherene said. Bolden decided to join in the heist and, like Boitnott, brought a gun, according to Sherene.

Stout faces three conspiracy charges as well as one count of criminal homicide. Bolden faces charges of theft and criminal trespassing for his alleged role, but has not been charged in the homicide.

Sherene, the first of the alleged participants to be apprehended, was arraigned on July 7 and waived her preliminary hearing the following month.

Speed ​​was arrested on October 1 and Boitnott was arrested on October 22. Boitnott was apprehended in the 300 block of West Eighth Street in Erie by the US Marshal Service Western Pennsylvania Fugitive Task Force. The trials of Sherene, Boitnott and Speed ​​are tentatively expected in early 2022.

• N ° 2: vaccine distribution starts, accelerates and sputters: The 2021 story voted by readers as the second most important of the year actually started at the end of 2020.

A major step in the fight against the pandemic came with the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, and it came at a time when the effects of the pandemic were being felt more strongly than at any time.

On December 15, 2020, the Titusville area hospital became one of seven hospitals in Pennsylvania to receive a COVID-19 vaccine delivery. Titusville has received 975 doses for healthcare workers in the Titusville area.

The expedition, which arrived on a Tuesday, came after 13 COVID-related deaths occurred the previous weekend and the same day Crawford County appeared as the # 3 region on a New York list Times of “where the epidemic is worst now.” “More than 350 new cases of COVID were reported over the weekend. An outbreak at Cambridge Springs State Correctional Facility has infected 575 of 919 inmates and 33 staff. Dozens of cases have been reported in nursing homes across the county, including 52 of the 114 residents of the Crawford County Care Center in addition to 21 staff cases.

Meadville Medical Center received a similar shipment on December 17, 2020, as vaccine supplies began arriving at hospitals across the state.

Immunizations followed immediately, with health workers, first responders, people over 75 and those with underlying health conditions receiving top priority.

But running hand in hand with the history of vaccine distribution has been the history of vaccine resistance. In fact, because doses remained in early shipments after the vaccine was offered to people in priority categories, MMC continued to drop lower in eligible categories, offering vaccinations to education workers and to d ‘others.

In early January, Meadville officials reported that the city’s 34 emergency responders had been offered vaccines. About 24 percent had chosen to be vaccinated. In the Conneaut School District, 144 of 244 employees signed up to receive the vaccines when they were first offered. The Crawford Central School District reported that “just under 50 percent” had been vaccinated.

Although some were not immediately interested, MMC-led county vaccination distribution efforts continued as eligibility was expanded to include those 65 and over in mid-January. In mid-April, vaccine eligibility was extended to all adults 16 years of age and older. At the same time, the Pennsylvania Department of Health reported that 19,422 people – about 23% – in Crawford County had been fully vaccinated.

When Crawford Central hosted a vaccination clinic for eligible students at Meadville Area Senior High School in late April, around 65 people – less than 12% of eligible students – signed up.

In early October, MMC offered third doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Initial doses were widely available for anyone who wanted one. The death toll from COVID in Crawford County stood at 189 and 35,008 county residents, or just over 41%, were fully vaccinated, according to PDH.

The county went from July 1 to August 10 with no reported COVID-related deaths. In the following months, the county’s COVID-related death toll rose from 166 to 263, the most recent involving an 89-year-old woman on Wednesday.

As the second year of the pandemic now gives way to the third and the omicron variant proves even easier to spread, the number of new COVID cases reported each day has skyrocketed to a record high number in the world. nationwide, averaging around 265,000. New vaccinations have spread across Crawford County and the booster shots have not kept pace with the initial vaccinations earlier in the year.

According to PDH, 37,990 residents of the county have been fully immunized, or nearly 45% of the population. Since mid-August, 15,501 people in the county have received booster shots.

Mike Crowley can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at mcrowley@meadvilletribune.com.

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