YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Herminia Lees and her husband have been living in their house on Benita Avenue for more than 50 years. The crime problems plaguing other parts of the northside haven’t been as bad here.
But now, the 78-year-old retired Youngstown school teacher has her own story to tell. It began Wednesday night around 11:30 as she was sleeping in her upstairs bedroom.
“Then, I heard a ‘click,’ then I woke up,” she said.
She was wounded in the hip by a stray bullet as she was sleeping about the same time a gunfight was going on in the area.
Herminia says, at first, she thought something bit her on the hip. Then, she noticed she was bleeding and applied pressure to the spot.
“My husband was watching TV. I wasn’t going to bother him because the blood went away,” Herminia said.
Eventually, she did go downstairs and told her husband.
“My husband checked the windows, and he saw the hole. He saw the hole,” Herminia said.
Her husband then called 911 and an ambulance took Herminia to Mercy Health.
Herminia’s husband told police he heard gunfire and glass breaking as he was watching television.
She was taken to St. Elizabeth Health Center to be treated after she was wounded about 11:50 p.m., about the same time police were receiving several calls about gunfire in the area of Bissell and Logan avenues.
Later they found out a 40-caliber round hit Herminia. Police say at about the same time, they were investigating reports of shots fired between two cars several blocks away.
Police did recover a spent bullet, possibly a .40-caliber round, from inside the house, reports said.
Herminia is expected to be OK.
Herminia says, for her, the real excitement came when she arrived at the emergency room overnight. Workers there had to cut off all her clothing to check for any other injuries.
Now, she’s sporting a bandage on her right hip, and with an amazingly upbeat attitude, she says the whole incident hasn’t scared her, saying, “I want to move the bed out of the — away from the window. That’s all.”
Witnesses told police the occupants of a pickup truck and SUV that were traveling on Logan Avenue were shooting at each other. Reports said officers collected 42 spent shell casings in the area.
Police also took reports of gunfire damaging an SUV in the 1300 block of Kensington Avenue and a home in the first block of Indiana Avenue.
No one has been arrested.