The fifth suspect in Columbus’ 16th homicide has offered police multiple versions of how he was shot the night he and four accomplices are accused of gunning down David Scott, police said Friday.
Christopher Pender, who was shot in the hip the night of Sept. 19, had been under guard in Midtown Medical Center since he was first named as a suspect in Scott’s death. He was arrested Oct. 2, when he was released from the hospital.
He faces charges of murder, two counts of aggravated assault, armed robbery, first degree burglary, criminal attempt of an armed robbery, two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, taking a motor vehicle, false report of a crime and false statements.
Also facing charges for Scott’s murder are Tyrecquiss Wells, Jayln Dixon, Christopher Whitaker and Donald Fair.
During Friday’s hearing, detectives told the court Pender assisted in stealing the gold Ford F-150 (valued at $20,000) the suspects allegedly were driving the night of the deadly shooting.
Fair is the suspect who later set fire to the stolen truck to try to destroy evidence such as blood and shell casings inside it, detectives testified last week. The truck was burned at Buena Vista Road and Bayberry Drive, within walking distance of Fair’s Valencia Drive home.
Detectives said Friday Pender accompanied Wells and Dixon to Baltic Court after Whitaker set up for the three men to pick up marijuana, but when they discovered their dealer was out, they decided to rob him instead.
Armed with an AR-15-type weapon and a pistol, Pender and Dixon went up to the man in his driveway, officials said. Pender, armed with the hand gun, pointed it at the victim and said, “Give it up!”
Detective Murry Gunderson said the man handed them $400, but when Pender asked him where the rest was, the victim tried to escape. Several shots were fired and the man was shot in the stomach, according to the report.
The group of men schemed to rob another “drug house” in town, and drove toward Seventh Street and Coolidge Avenue. When the five men came across David Scott driving a white Chevrolet Impala, Wells mistook him for the robbery target, Gunderson said.
Dixon blocked the path of Scott’s vehicle while the rest got out and started walking to him. He hurriedly threw the car in reverse and tried to escape, but not before the men opened fire.
A barrage of 30 bullets were fired from three separate weapons, a .45-caliber, a 9mm and the .223-caliber AR-15, Gunderson said. However, police are still uncertain which gun fired the fatal bullet, which hit Scott in the forehead.
Sometime that night Pender was hit by a bullet that entered his hip and exited his right buttock.
Pender first told police someone driving by Booker T. Washington apartments shot him. After that story proved false, Pender claimed he didn’t know Wells although they both once faced burglary charges together.
According to detectives, the other suspects say Pender was injured while they were shooting Scott.
In Pender’s final version of that night’s events, he said the group returned to Fair’s house on Valencia Drive, where Dixon allegedly shot him while playing with a gun.
Judge Julius Hunter set no bond on Pender’s charges of murder and armed robbery. He was given $450,250 combined bond for his other charges.
Scott’s sister-in-law, Ashley McRae, said after the hearing that she is confident justice will be served.
“I just want to thank the community and the Columbus Police Department for all of their support,” McRae said.
She said Scott’s three children, who are aged 16, 14 and 12, are attempting to adjust after the death of their father. The death was a shock for the family, who knew Scott as a laid-back, easygoing man who did not get involved in perilous situations.
“It’s a hard pill to swallow for them, but they too just want to make sure justice is served,” she said.