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Shooting victim identified as former Ellet High football standout

By Ed Meyer
Beacon Journal staff writer

The man fatally shot Thursday afternoon behind an Akron convenience store was a former football standout who graduated from Ellet High School in 2008 and later attended Youngstown State.

Paris D. Wicks II, 23, of Wall Street, was killed by a single gunshot to the torso, a Summit County Medical Examiner’s investigator said Friday.

Another man injured in the shooting, also 23, police said, was in an area hospital.

Akron Police Capt. Dan Zampelli said investigators were continuing to interview witnesses Friday afternoon. No arrests had been made.

“We still have not put together a motive or positively identified any of the suspects yet,” he said.

There were no indications from the preliminary investigative reports about how many people were involved in the shooting, Zampelli said.

“We’re not even concluding that there was a fight. We’re not sure what it was yet. That’s what we’re trying to put together,” he said.

The shooting occurred shortly after 3:30 p.m. Thursday behind the Lovers Lane Market at Lovers Lane and South Arlington Street. Officers found Wicks’ body lying in a rear parking lot of the store.

The injured man, whose identity police have not released, was found at a business about a block away on South Arlington Street, police said.

Zampelli said the midday gunfire was traumatic for children coming home from school.

Wicks, like his father more than 30 years ago at North High School and Youngstown State, was a standout running back. At Ellet, he won All-City Series honors and helped the Orangemen claim a share of the city title as a junior in 2006.

In an outstanding City Series game late in his senior season, Wicks had 17 carries for 144 yards and two touchdowns and also scored on a touchdown pass in a 48-0 victory over East.

His father, Paris Wicks, who was inducted into the Youngstown State Athletics Hall of Fame, was the school’s second leading rusher with 3,101 career yards. He scored 30 touchdowns and set school records for most touchdowns (five) and points (32) in a game.

Marcus Henderson of Akron, who was a longtime friend of Paris Wicks II and played football against him in high school, said Wicks was “probably the most friendly, honest guy I knew.”

Henderson, 24, works as a barber at the Exquisite Blendz shop on Brown Street, about a five-minute drive from the scene of the shooting, he said.

“When I found out it was him,” Henderson said, “it was just hard for me to believe. He never initiated any trouble with anybody. As a football player, he got along with anybody and everybody.”

Henderson said his little sister was in the same Ellet High graduating class as Wicks.

“We were all pretty close-knit. It’s a sad time for all of us, for everybody from Ellet,” Henderson said.

Community activist Darrita Davis, a cousin of the victim’s mother, Ronda Wicks, said she had not seen him since he was much younger, but is close to his mother.

“The family is taking this very hard,” Davis said. “He was a good kid. Basically, I’m hearing that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and that some young individual, who is said to be 15 or 16, was trying to rob him.”

Summit County Common Pleas Court records show Paris Wicks II was arrested June 28 on a low-level felony drug charge, along with a first-degree misdemeanor charge of driving under suspension for failure to obtain proper insurance.

The drug-possession charge was dismissed by motion of the prosecutor in an Aug. 14 plea bargain, and he pleaded guilty to only the misdemeanor driving offense.

After a March 2011 arrest, he was indicted for receiving stolen property, improper handling of a firearm in a vehicle, carrying a concealed weapon and two misdemeanor charges.

The case was resolved in a plea bargain with a guilty plea to only the weapons charge, for which he was sentenced to two years of probation.

Under terms of the plea bargain in the case that was resolved two weeks ago, he was sentenced to 30 days of house arrest. His term was scheduled to begin next week.

Zampelli asked anyone with information about the shooting to call detectives at 330-375-2490. Information also can be provided anonymously by calling Summit County Crimestoppers at 330-434-COPS (2677). A cash reward is offered for information leading to an arrest.

Ed Meyer can be reached at 330-996-3784 or at emeyer@thebeaconjournal.com.



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