New Castle News


June 26, 2014

Police: Gunman still at large in North Hill shooting

NEW CASTLE — A man shot in the hand and face with buckshot lost some of his fingertips, New Castle police reported.

Meanwhile, police are seeking the gunman who allegedly tried to kill him Sunday morning.

Charges were filed Wednesday against Robert Kevin Garrison, 50, of 209 Park Ave. in connection with the shooting that injured Michael Betts, 33, formerly of Detroit.

Police said Garrison fired a rifle with buckshot at Betts, who raised his left hand to shield the shot that had been aimed at his head. Some of the pellets became lodged in his face and he lost the tips of several fingers on his left hand, police reported.

Betts initially was flown to St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown in critical condition.

Police Chief Bobby Salem said doctors removed 40 BBs from Betts’ body and he is now in Akron City Hospital.

The shooting allegedly occurred at Garrison’s house on the city’s North Hill around 12:20 p.m., where Betts allegedly was living in the third-floor attic with a girlfriend.

Garrison faces one count each of criminal attempt to commit criminal homicide, illegal possession of a firearm, recklessly endangering another person and simple assault and two counts of aggravated assault.

Police were called to a nearby store where Betts had gone to call 911. Officers followed a blood trail on Park Avenue to Garrison’s house, where two women and a girl exited. Police learned all three lived in the house and the women were Garrison’s and Betts’ girlfriends.

One of the women told police Garrison, whose nickname is “Philly” because he is from Philadelphia, shot Betts.

Police said a blood trail continued into the house entryway, up the second-floor stairs and down a hallway to a door leading to the third floor. A large amount of blood was on the floor and walls at the top of the steps on the third floor attic, police reported.

There were several holes in the wall and it appeared attempts had been made to clean off the blood, officers said, noting bloody rags were found on a sink.

Police said they had interviewed Betts at the Akron hospital Tuesday morning and he told them he and Garrison had been arguing about him bringing home a dog.

Betts told officers Garrison later was ascending the stairs to Betts’ room with a short-barreled shotgun and when Betts saw him remove it from behind his back, told him to put it down, according to police.

Betts told police Garrison aimed the gun at his head and pulled the trigger, then was trying to reload. He said just before the shot, he heard one of the women saying “go ahead, go ahead.”

Betts told police he jumped on Garrison and they fell down the stairs, and he told Garrison, “You shot me.” He said he had heard a woman say, “No he didn’t,” and as he left the house to get help, Garrison was running up the street.

Betts reported to police Garrison had shown him the same single-shot gun with no stock previously.

Police said Garrison has a felony conviction for robbery.

A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

Salem asks anyone with any information about his whereabouts is asked to contact a city police detective at (724) 656-3588, or leave an anonymous tip on the police website at

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