Youngstown Murder Suspect Arrested

Willie Wilks in Custody

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Youngstown police have arrested murder suspect Willie Wilks Jr.

Wilks, 41, was wanted in the shooting death of Orora Wilkins, 20, and the wounding of Alexander Morales, 24, during a shooting Tuesday on the city’s North Side. Police said Wilkins was shot while sitting on the front porch holding a 5-month-old baby. The baby was unharmed.

Police said Morales was shot while trying to get in the house.

Police said Wilks fired a gun towards a porch at 725 Park Ave. about 5 p.m. Tuesday after he came looking for Wilkins’ brother. Not long after the shooting, information about the suspect’s whereabouts started pouring in to police.

The U.S. Marshal’s Task Force apprehended Wilks after a brief vehicle and foot chase outside the Rockford Village Apartments on the city’s East Side.

“We had a general location, and we put about four unmarked cars out in the area just to comb it to see if we could find him. Sure enough, we ended up passing him on the South Side,” said Youngstown Police Lt. Gerard Slattery. “Once we entered Rockford Village though, he then spotted our trail. He bailed out of the car, jumped the fence in the back, and we were able to go over and catch him right here.”

During the arrest, police recovered a semi-automatic handgun along with $1,680 in cash.

Wilks was taken to the Youngstown Police Department for questioning and will be processed into the Mahoning County Jail. He is charged with murder and attempted murder.

The baby Wilkins was holding belongs to her best friend, Renea Jenkins.

“She will be truly missed,” Jenkins said Wednesday. “It could have been my baby if she wouldn’t have turned and protected her.”

Jenkins said she and Wilkins have been close since they were kids.

“It hurts so much. I have to wake up every day and keep living my life knowing  that I can’t call her in the morning to see if she’s coming over,” she said.

“I think the man is really, I can’t even call him a man, I think he’s a kid for that.  How could you kill somebody holding a kid?,” said Wilkins’ cousin, Justin Wilkins.

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