A 16-year-old charged with murder in the Wednesday fatal shooting of a man in a convenience store parking lot in Northeast Washington was there to rob people of money and drugs, according to newly filed court documents.
The youth and two friends had confronted the victim, Larry Darnell Harrell, 43, at gunpoint and patted him down looking for cash and synthetic marijuana, authorities said. Finding nothing, they freed Harrell and, the documents say, turned to another man, who they robbed in the parking lot of the Circle 7 Express in the 1200 block of Mount Olivet Road NE, in Trinidad.
A few minutes later, suspecting Harrell was hiding behind a trash bin and had a gun, two of the alleged robbers opened fire, police said. Harrell was struck in the head and died at the scene of the 12:50 a.m. shooting. Titus Iracks was arrested a short time later and charged as an adult with first-degree murder.
Court papers did not make clear which gunman allegedly shot the victim.
Relatives of Harrell, who, according to police, lived around the corner from where he was shot, could not be reached. Police did not say whether Harrell had a gun.
Titus’s relatives declined to comment after the young suspect’s initial court appearance on Thursday.
At that hearing, Titus’s attorney, Ronald B. Resetarits, argued his client should be released pending trial because authorities could not say which of the two guns fired outside the store killed Harrell — a 9mm semiautomatic or a .38 caliber revolver. He said surveillance video and the version from one of the alleged accomplices backs Titus’s statement to police that he fired a gun but aimed away from the victim.
Resetarits told the court that “it must have been” shots fired by the other man that killed Harrell. Police have not charged any other defendant in the case. The attorney said there is “a total lack of evidence of intent” on his client’s part.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Fischer argued that it didn’t matter which defendant fired the fatal shot and said more than enough evidence exists to hold Titus for trial. Magistrate Judge Errol R. Arthur agreed and ordered Titus detained until a June 22 hearing.
Police said in the arrest affidavit made public Thursday that Titus was wearing a GPS monitoring bracelet, indicating he was on court supervision. His juvenile court history is not public.
Police said they searched for anyone who was in the area of the killing wearing a GPS bracelet, and discovered Titus was nearby.
Authorities then sent a helicopter to Titus’s address in Southeast and saw a yellow Dodge that had been spotted leaving the shooting scene parked in that block. A police dog trained to recognize gunpowder alerted officers to the vehicle’s front door, the affidavit says.
Police then went into the residence and said they found Titus and two men inside, along with a 9mm handgun and a .38 caliber revolver.
The arrest affidavit says Titus told detectives that he and his friends were at the store to rob people, and that he was to get the marijuana while his friends split stolen cash. The affidavit says Titus admitted firing a gun, but only after his friend fired. That friend, who was not charged, admitted to firing three times, the affidavit says.
Titus told police, according to the affidavit, that he fired away from the victim. Police said surveillance video shows him shooting toward Harrell.