By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
According to Youngblood, the people that threatened him to keep his mouth shut are tied to the trade of crack, marijuana and PCP that infests the neighborhood near 24th Street and Broadway Road, but he is adamant: The gangsters' concerns are mere paranoia because he hasn't told the detectives so much as the time of day.
"The cops grabbed me after the shooting and I'm like, 'What is it that I know that I'm not sure I know?'" he says.
Inside the crackhouse on Chipman, the 15 bullet holes in the cinder block walls are patched and painted a fresh coat of white. Youngblood has labored to fix up the house in return for a break on the rent. He replaced the bloody carpet on the living room floor where Rolanda died with linoleum tile. In the kitchen where Dink was murdered, a carton of Ramen noodles sits on top of the icebox. Two boxes of Gerber baby food stand on the counter.
The rooms are littered with knives and CDs by Scarface, Shorty the Pimp and Makaveli. A two-foot-high stack of rumpled clothes sits on the floor behind one bedroom door. A small-bore rifle with a broken stock rests quietly in the other bedroom. Nearby is the crackhouse's only visible book, Acts of Faith, Daily Meditations for People of Color. It sits on a shelf with an empty pistol holster.
Because the carnivores of the neighborhood are circling, sniffing for Youngblood's weaknesses or betrayals, he decided to take out a desperate insurance policy by bringing me into his confidence. It is an uneasy hedge; there is little assurance that Youngblood's words will collar the meat-eaters. And what is the credibility of testimony when crackhouse ghosts spook the conversation? But it is too late for qualms. Howard Youngblood has already stepped over the line.
While Youngblood says he has maintained the gangster's code of silence that the Broadway G's have demanded, he is firm that he can't remain a deaf mute if he thinks he's going to die.
"If people be jumping on me, beating me up, shooting me, then I can be nonchalant and throw this information out," he says.
Information like the identity of the killer and a motive.
Although he says all three men killed on Chipman were affiliated with the Broadway Gangsters, Leon "Mookie" Williams, 24, was the target.
Word in the neighborhood is that Williams was killed during a drug rip-off, or a lingering dispute between rival gangs. There is no substantive corroboration. Police are not discussing details of the case.
Youngblood won't reveal why Williams was murdered but he insists, "Everybody else was an accident."
In other words, Dink, Man-man and Rolanda were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Whomever nailed Mookie wasn't leaving witnesses.
Furthermore, Youngblood is the first to say on the record that the killings on Chipman and Pueblo are directly related.
Everyone was shot by the same man, claims Youngblood.
"It was Justin Monroe."
Monroe, 18, is already in jail, charged with the second round of shootings on Pueblo Street.
Nobody has been apprehended in the Chipman homicides. Nor has there been any explanation for the killings until now.
Because Youngblood felt something bad was coming down, he moved out of the Chipman Street place on February 6, the day before the first four homicides.
"I'm epileptic. I get stressed out, I have seizures. Last two months [the period of time he lived at Chipman] I done had about 13 seizures, sometimes two or three a night," says Youngblood.
He didn't feel safe at the Chipman house.
Youngblood says his anxiety arose not out of any knowledge of an upcoming hit but rather out of arguments with one of his roommates.
"Man-man, he'd go on about personal stuff we had talked about," says Youngblood. "He'd loud talk me when his friends were around."
Youngblood's feelings got hurt. And he's not about to let people abuse him.
"All through high school I was the shortest person. I got picked on all the time. I don't let no one do that anymore. I won't let no one intimidate me anymore. I got feelings and I'm going to let it be known."
When asked what the sore point was that Man-man broadcast to others, Youngblood only smiles and says he'd rather not discuss it. But he easily recounts what he said to Man-man.
"I told him, 'I'm older than you, you don't be disrespecting me, belittling me.'"
Youngblood denies that his quarrel with Man-man had anything to do with the killings.
After Williams was hit, he says, the other three Chipman Road victims--Jamal "Dink" Lewis Aham, 21, Larry "Man-man" Eagans, 23, and Rolanda King, 18--were eliminated because they were witnesses.
Youngblood says the people were attacked at the Pueblo Street residence on February 9 because they too could tie Justin Monroe to the Chipman Street annihilation.
Although Eric "White Boy" Ransom, 21, was killed at the Pueblo Street apartment during the second shooting, Larry Jack, 26, Gloria Moore, 20, Tammy Moore, 22, and 2-year-old Elizabeth Moore all survived the rampage.
Howard Youngblood's scenario that Justin Monroe killed all these people at both houses and that the Pueblo shootings were meant to eliminate witnesses is confirmed by one credible witness.