Tommy Jones III went to Walgreens to meet a man and buy a .45-caliber pistol before shots erupted in the west parking lot and the nearby business on Tate Drive, a Columbus police detective testified Friday in Recorder’s Court.
Brenton Rhasheem Davis, 24, of Columbus pleaded not guilty to one count of murder in the Nov. 21 shooting of Jones, 19, at the 2510 Wynnton Road store. Judge Julius Hunter ordered Davis held without bond and bound the charge over to Muscogee Superior Court.
Police detective Sherman Hayes said officers used eyewitnesses at the scene, the victim’s cellphone and partial video surveillance from inside the drug store and outside the business for information in the deadly shooting. Davis was found with multiple gunshots near Tate Drive after the 6:13 p.m. shooting in the parking lot. He was transported to Piedmont Columbus Regional midtown campus where he was pronounced dead in the emergency room.
The victim’s phone was found at the crime scene after the shooting, Hayes said. Text messages reveal conversations between the victim and a person later identified as Davis about purchasing a gun. Witnesses told police the suspect drove a Mercury Marquis or a Ford Crown Victoria.
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A witness said Jones had a bag when he and Davis entered the drug store. They left and went to the parking lot before Jones, the shorter of the two, ran from Davis. Witnesses said Davis fired shots at Jones’ leg and back.
After Jones collapsed near Tate Drive, the suspect stood over the victim and fired more shots, Hayes told the court. A witness said Davis picked up the bag from Jones and fled. It’s unknown what was inside the bag.
Jones was shot at least four times, leaving nine shell casings from a 9 mm pistol scattered at the scene.
Police served a search warrant at a West Britt David Road residence that revealed that Davis owns a 1995 Mercury Grand Marquis.
Davis was represented by defense attorney Stacey Jackson who questioned Hayes about surveillance video. The detective said there is video from inside Walgreens and businesses outside. Neither gun was found during the police investigation.
Outside the courtroom, Jackson said he is concerned about the partial surveillance video in the case. “One thing concerns me based on the detective testimony is they only have a portion of tape that doesn’t show from the beginning to end,” he said.
Jackson said the gun was posted for sale on a legal website. “From text messages, it was supposed to be a public safe location to make the transaction,” Jackson said. “They did not know each other, had no problems with one another. “
Davis had a permit to carry a weapon. “The transaction itself, if it would have gone through, is not illegal at all,” he said.