Local police agencies swarmed the Central State Street neighborhood just before noon Wednesday looking for a man who ran when police stopped his car.
The man, police said, was wanted for questioning in connection with the fatal shooting early Saturday morning outside the former Aquarius Club on State Street.
But the trail soon turned cold as the man escaped.
“They’re looking for an individual who may have some connection, either as a witness or a suspect, to the recent homicide case at the Aquarius,” Public Safety Commissioner Wayne Bennett said. “We have reason to want to talk to this person in regards to that case.”
Police were able to question one man, apparently caught shortly after a blue four-door car was stopped on Division Street, near Becker Street. The second man, who touched off the manhunt, fled on foot east through backyards.
The incident apparently began on State Street as police spotted the car, according to police radio transmissions. A police spokesman declined to elaborate later. Police followed the car to Division Street, where they stopped it and the chase began.
Police saturated the area, working off of tips from residents who may have seen the suspect either ducking behind a garage or sprinting across a street. One resident described the man she saw on Elm Street as “running like Carl Lewis,” according to radio transmissions.
The man was also spotted making motions toward his waistband, suggesting that he had a gun.
The car itself was quickly placed on a flatbed truck and taken for evidence.
As the search began, police notified the city school district, first recommending that three schools — Central Park, Keane and Lincoln — take precautions, then expanding that to all but two city schools.
The schools were put on “lockout,” meaning no one was allowed to come inside but activities inside went on as normal, district spokeswoman Karen Corona said. The lockouts lasted for up to 75 minutes. She said the moves were precautionary, as there were no reports of direct threats to schools.
The search included a state police helicopter that could be seen over the entire neighborhood, even near a Central Park gathering to remember victims of homicide.
The victim in the homicide that touched off the investigation and Wednesday’s search was 42-year-old Ronald Crenshaw. He was shot to death outside a private party held at the former Aquarius Club. His brother, Yousef Crenshaw, was wounded but is expected to survive.
City police are working with state police on the investigation, Bennett said.
“We have a lot of resources being put into this. We’re making progress,” he said.