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Published: Monday, 12/15/2008

Man arrested in shooting of teen

BY CHAUNCEY ALCORN AND MIKE SIGOV
BLADE STAFF WRITERS

A man was arrested Monday morning and charged with murder in the shooting death of a 16-year-old who was slain Sunday morning in South Toledo.

James A. "Jimmy" Leroux was arrested without incident about 7:30 a.m. at a gas station on the corner of Manhattan Boulevard and I-280, Toledo police said.

The arrest followed a police search launched shortly after Luis Ruiz was taken about 12:05 a.m. Sunday to Toledo Hospital where he died about 45 minutes later. Police quickly identified Mr. Leroux, 23, as the suspected shooter and filed a warrant for his arrest, charging him with murder.

As of 11:40 a.m. Monday, Mr. Leroux was waiting in line at the Lucas County Jail to be booked there, pending his arraignment Tuesday in Toledo Municipal Court, according to the Lucas County Sheriff s Office.

He allegedly shot the Ruiz youth in the chest while both were in an upstairs room at 2132 South Ave., the home of May McKerchie , police said.

The two were reportedly among an unspecified number of people in the house who were friends of Ms. McKerchie s daughter, Kera, police said.

When police arrived on the scene, they found young Ruiz on the front porch with friends performing CPR on him.

Ms. McKerchie and others originally told police the Ruiz youth was shot on the front porch by an unknown person.

But police said that story did not match up with evidence at the scene. Sgt. Lou Vasquez said witnesses eventually told police that Mr. Leroux shot Ruiz in an upstairs room of Ms. McKerchie s home.

"At first they were really reluctant to come forward at all. It took extensive interviews, over several hours, to get them to actually tell us the truth on what happened," Sergeant Vasquez said.

"The physical evidence, blood spatters, just didn t fit with what they were telling us."

Police said Mr. Leroux fled the scene after the shooting. Neighbors said he is believed to have several relatives in Toledo.

Neighbors said they did not hear gunshots when the incident occurred.

An autopsy was scheduled for Monday.

The Rev. Greg Ford of Calvary Assembly of God in Toledo said the Ruiz youth began attending his church s youth group about a year ago.

"He was always a respectful, very polite, very nice kid to be around," Mr. Ford said.

"He had a really warm smile."

Staff Writer Alex M. Parker contributed to this report.



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