Shooting Victim Was Football Standout at Ursuline

Kendis Circle shooting
Two people were shot Thursday night on Kendis Circle on Youngstown's East Side.

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One person was killed and another injured in a shooting on Youngstown’s East Side late Thursday.

Keil’n Thurston, 20, was shot at about 10 p.m. Thursday on Kendis Circle and died while en route to the hospital. Police said it appeared Thurston was ambushed.

Thurston was a former standout Ursuline football player, and was a member of the Class of 2011.

“For young people to leave this early in life, and senselessly again, you just do not understand it,” said Ursuline football coach Larry Kempe.

The other shooting victim, James Merchant, was taken St. Elizabeth Health Center with a gunshot wound to the head. Investigators said Merchant, a football player for East High School, will likely be okay and was talking to family members on Friday.

Extra officers were called to the area for crowd control following Thursday’s shooting. Investigators said a recent shooting in the area is likely related to Thursday’s attack.

“They were ambushed basically going into the apartment. We think the gunfire came from the tree line. There were shots two or three days ago, so we think this is an ongoing feud,” said Youngstown Police Chief Rod Foley.

“Everybody wants answers and I think we need to get the truth and find out what happened. It is very upsetting,” Kempe said.

Thurston learned many lessons on the football field and inside the classroom at Ursuline, and Kempe said he took those lessons into the real world to try and make himself better each and every day.

“He had a plan, he had goals. He was focusing on what he wanted to do. He had an outstanding personality. He was an outstanding talent,” Kempe said.

Kempe said Thurston just picked up his transcripts Monday to enroll in a nursing program in downtown Youngstown, but now those dreams are no more.

“There is no reason for it, just no reason for it. There are other ways to solve problems and resolve issues than violence and weapons,” Kempe said.

Thurston is the seventh homicide victim in Youngstown this year. There were 14 at this time in 2012.

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