Ohio Man Wanted in Child’s Slaying Captured Near Kalispell

By Beacon Staff

A man accused of shooting a gun in a street fight in Cleveland and killing a 12-year-old girl caught in the crossfire as she walked to a corner store was captured near Kalispell.

Eric Wilson, 35, had been wanted since the Sept. 1 shooting death of Asteve’e “Cookie” Thomas, who was struck in the neck by a stray bullet and then collapsed and died on a nearby porch.

Wilson was arrested after a vehicle and foot chase with police near Kalispell, FBI spokesman Scott Wilson said Tuesday night.

Police on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning, had stopped Eric Wilson earlier in the day on a traffic violation but he was let go after he gave an alias, which turned out to be the name of a person wanted in Iowa, the FBI said.

Using a description of the van Wilson was driving, authorities stopped him about 65 miles away near Kalispell, the FBI said.

He was being held in the Flathead County jail, awaiting extradition hearings that would bring him back to Cleveland, where a judge had issued an arrest warrant on a charge of aggravated murder, the FBI said.

Wilson called television stations after the girl’s shooting and offered a tearful apology to her family. Wilson said he was being robbed at gunpoint and was trying to get his property back when the girl was shot.

A man wounded in the gunfight, James Yhonquea, 20, of Cleveland, was arrested and charged with aggravated murder in the girl’s death.

The shooting prompted a rally in the girl’s Slavic Village neighborhood and community leaders announced a series of anti-crime initiatives.

Mayor Frank Jackson said Monday he wants the state Legislature to pass a law prohibiting anyone under age 21 from possessing a firearm, a strategy he said could help stop gun violence.

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