Sole Survivor

Howard Youngblood's roommates were shot to death, yet he clings to the place where it all went down

Requesting anonymity, a confidential and reliable source claims to have talked with one of the Pueblo survivors, who reported that the second round of shootings was meant to ensure silence about the Chipman homicides.

Whether the Moore sisters or Larry Jack will share this information with the police is anyone's guess.

And Justin Monroe, through his family, protests his innocence of any wrongdoing.

For now, Howard Youngblood stands alone, caught between the homicidal impulses ricocheting between two crackhouses.

How did he find himself in such a hazardous predicament?
"When I first came to Phoenix last Thanksgiving weekend, I had nowhere to go," he says. "Man-man got me into the house."

Youngblood wandered to Phoenix, he doesn't recall why, from Kansas City by way of San Diego.

"When I'm not in the same state as my parents, we get along," explains Youngblood of his move out of Kansas City. "Otherwise we fight like cats and dogs, 24 seven."

Well-known in the neighborhood as a drug hangout, the house on Chipman was the end of the road for Youngblood, who admits that he just can't hold a job, doesn't get food stamps or SSI.

"I was born addicted to cocaine and heroin," he says. "I'm bipolar and epileptic, but I don't have medicine because I don't have medical insurance."

Instead, Youngblood medicates himself.
Though he denies with a straight face that he uses any hard drugs like crack, he does admit to smoking weed.

"I smoke marijuana because it keeps me calm, it keeps me from stressing."
Despite all of the blood-letting, Youngblood refuses to leave the neighborhood--in fact, he has created a remarkable fantasy for himself.

"I'm tired of having to run and hide," he explains. "I want to buy my own home, start my own family life."

Except Youngblood wants to settle down in a charnel house.
He moved back into the bullet-riddled block house on Chipman shortly after the killings. In his living room a postal receipt for a certified letter from the IRS sits on a table. It is addressed to Youngblood's nemesis, the deceased Larry "Man-man" Eagans. The yellow form is stamped, "FINAL NOTICE."

Youngblood's wallet contains no dollar bills, but it does keep safe a lease that started running on March 1 at the rate of $275 a month.

He produces notes from the wallet that show the Chipman house could be his for $20,000 and that the realtor will take $1,000 down and carry $19,000 at 10 percent for 15 years.

Where Youngblood will get next month's rent, let alone a down payment, is a good question. He alludes to a tax refund--an interesting proposition for a man who cannot work.

In any case, he swears he's not running a crackhouse and shaving off a few bucks for the dream.

"My house is a safe haven where people can come chill out. When someone is kicking here, I've told them no drugs. I want people to know they can kick it, listen to music here, sleep the night if they have to," he explains.

During a subsequent conversation he returns to the identity of his home.
"This is not a crackhouse. What's in the past, is in the past. I've made this my home. I've struggled long and hard. It'll be good."

I am not optimistic. The house positively teems with people at all hours of the day and night.

Shortly after Youngblood returned to the Chipman house, he says two members of the Broadway G's moved in with him.

Youngblood's unusual vision of domesticity has brought nothing but pressure.
"Yesterday the cops seen a couple of guys leaving the house who're known for causing chaos and mayhem. Here come the cops playing 50 questions," says Youngblood.

This investigation into the February killings in South Phoenix is steeped in a charged racial atmosphere:

Delays in the trial of black teenagers, most associated with the Park South Crips, accused of raping a retarded black girl in a neighborhood house have raised allegations of racism.

Three black school board members in South Phoenix's Roosevelt District have been assessed thousands of dollars in election fraud penalties and are still under investigation. The board members defend themselves by claiming that the probe is bigoted.

At the end of this month the police will be put on trial, accused of violating the civil rights of Rudy "Rude Dog" Buchanan Jr, who absorbed 29 bullets after pointing a shotgun at officers. The cops fired 89 times.

Similar race accusations fueled the multimillion-dollar settlement last year by the City of Phoenix with the family of another young black man, Eddie Mallet, a double amputee and a former gangbanger who died from a police choke-hold.

The charges of racism by leaders in the black community stand in stark contrast to the lack of any calls from the same leaders for the city to meaningfully address the crack plague and local gangs.

Far from any sort of community task force to deal with these complex issues, it's been left in the hands of the police to handle the fallout from the crack trade. And Howard Youngblood is on his own when confronted by the cops.

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