By Ed Meyer
Beacon Journal staff writer
A man fatally shot in West Akron Thursday afternoon has been identified by authorities as Bryce D. Ellis, 24, of Aberdeen Avenue in Akron.
Ellis, who had a series of felony arrests dating to 2007, was shot during a struggle after attempting to rob another man at gunpoint, police said Friday.
A 29-year-old Akron man, the victim of the alleged robbery attempt, also suffered gunshot wounds and remains hospitalized.
The shooting occurred in the street about 2 p.m. Thursday, at the intersection of Packard Drive and La Belle Avenue, opposite a Bi-Rite convenience store, near the 1300 block of Diagonal Road.
A witness who lives on La Belle heard commotion, went outside and saw the shooting, he said, as the two men were struggling. He said the deceased man apparently shot himself.
Akron police Lt. Rick Edwards said that aspect of the incident was under investigation Friday.
The 29-year-old man, who has not been charged, Edwards said, suffered two gunshot wounds to an arm. He was undergoing treatment Friday at Akron General.
The witness said he heard four or five shots during the struggle in a busy neighborhood.
No one else reported being injured.
Minutes later, following a heavy police response by patrol officers, detectives and investigators from the department’s Crime Scene Unit, dozens of residents and children in the neighborhood gathered around the taped-off intersection.
The weapon apparently used in the shooting, a .25-caliber semiautomatic handgun, was then recovered by police from inside a storm sewer only a few feet away from the street sign post.
Akron police Lt. David Whiddon, who was at the scene of Thursday’s shooting, said another man apparently was involved after the two men in the struggle jumped out of a maroon SUV that had stopped at the intersection.
Whiddon said the other man got in the SUV at some point and drove away, heading west on La Belle.
Edwards said that man has been identified, but no charges had been filed Friday as the investigation continues.
According to Summit County court records, Ellis was serving a two-year probation after pleading guilty last October to one count of cocaine possession.
The remaining charges in his felony indictment were dismissed by motion of the prosecutor.
As part of his probation in that case, Ellis was ordered to undergo a substance abuse assessment.
In May 2012, he also was arrested on two felony charges, cocaine possession and failure to comply with the order of a police officer, along with various misdemeanor charges, including reckless operation of a vehicle, driving under suspension and resisting arrest.
After being arrested and indicted in October 2009 for trafficking in cocaine, Ellis pleaded guilty to a reduced charge, a misdemeanor, for attempting to permit drug abuse, court records show.
Edwards said Ellis had two parole violations for contempt of court following a 2007 arrest in connection with a stolen vehicle and willfully fleeing.
Court records show the 29-year-old man who was wounded has no felony convictions.
Ed Meyer can be reached at 330-996-3784 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.