Crime

Court: Three suspects charged in BP shooting deny involvement

Sarah Robinson

srobinson@ledger-enquirer.com

Three Columbus men appeared in Columbus Recorder's Court this morning to face charges stemming from the Jan. 8 shooting at 3921 Buena Vista Road.

Ja’Colby Brooks Douglas, Adonis Keoonte Pernell and Johnny Henderson were identified the individuals involved in the incident in the BP gas station parking, where an assortment of weapons were fired at a male driver around 11:43 p.m. There was a passenger in the victim's car, but no one was harmed.

Officer Donna Baker said she obtained a surveillance video that shows a black 2004 Nissan Altima occupied by all three defendants pulled up to the gas pump.

Police said 38-year-old Henderson, the driver, exited the vehicle and went into the store to purchase gas. The front-seat passenger, 24-year-old Pernell and the backseat passenger, 21-year-old Douglas, followed Henderson into the store, where they also made a purchase.

Officials said the group had returned to their vehicle when the male victim drove onto the scene in his Chevy Silverado with a passenger in his car.

Baker said Douglas, Pernell and Henderson then ran from the Altima to the side of the store. A fourth identified suspect, whose name hasn't been released, exited a separate vehicle with rifle in hand, ran to the front of the Silverado and fired shots at the truck.

"That's when you see Mr. Pernell and Mr. Douglas run towards that truck," Baker said.

Police said they weren't able to tell on the video whether or not Pernell and Douglas fired shots at the vehicle, but further investigation revealed that they had.

Baker said all three defendants left the scene in the Altima. Bullets were fired from the vehicle that struck the Silverado as it was was traveling along Pembrook Drive and away from the scene, police added.

Pernell surrendered to authorities at the Public Safety Center around 11:20 p.m. Thursday, and police arrested Henderson and Douglas at Henderson's Kevin Court residence around the same time.

Police said they found the 2004 Nissan Altima used to escape the shooting at the Kevin Court home. It contained a backpack with a 9mm Glock, a digital scale and 9.8 grams of marijuana with a street value of $90 inside, Baker testified.

In court, all three defendants admitted to entering the gas station to make a few purchases on the day of the incident but denied any involvement in the shooting.

Pernell and Douglas pleaded not guilty to aggravated assault and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, while Henderson pleaded not guilty to the same charges in addition to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a marijuana with the intent to distribute and possession of drug-related objects.

Judge Michael Joyner ordered that they all return to the Muscogee County Jail.

Douglas, who doesn't have any prior convictions, was given Own Recognizance bonds totaling $15,000. Henderson is being held without bond, but Pernell was granted bonds totaling $15,000.

— Sarah is a crime & safety reporter at The Ledger-Enquirer. You can contact her on Twitter at @SarahR_92.

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