Police: Shootings may be part of gang feud

Wednesday, February 21st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- The deaths of two people and the wounding of four others in the past two days may be the outgrowth of a feud between to rival street gangs, Tulsa authorities say.

Tulsa County prosecutors on Tuesday charged Jermaine Michael Bruner, 20, with first-degree murder and two counts of shooting with intent to kill in the death of Terry Jackson and the wounding of two other men.

Prosecutors had charged Bruner with first-degree murder in the 1999 drive-by shooting death of David Christopher Ewell, 24, but the charge was dismissed because of identification problems. The case has remained open.

Police hope to catch this week's shooters before anyone else is hurt, Gangs Unit Sgt. Van Ellis said.

"We are going to have an increased police presence in those areas where the shootings occurred. We are going to make legal stops of people we see who are known gang members and look for firearms," Ellis said. "We are not going to tolerate this kind of lawlessness."

The first of four separate shootings that police believe are connected happened early Sunday. An officer who heard gunshots about 2:15 a.m. Sunday found a large crowd gathered in a north Tulsa parking lot, Officer Lucky Lamons said.

The crowd apparently had been watching two men fight when the shots rang out, Lamons said.

Jackson, 23, was killed and Jimmy Robinson and Ronald Markham were wounded, he said.

A 22-year-old man was fatally shot Monday afternoon in front of a north Tulsa convenience store. Free Smith, 22, was shot twice in the back in an attack police said might be related to Jackson's slaying. Smith died at Tulsa Regional Medical Center.

About 11:40 p.m. on Monday, Joshua Thompson was shot while two of his friends were inside another north Tulsa store.

"While Thompson was in the car, two to three men drove up in a brown (Oldsmobile) Cutlass," Tulsa police Sgt. Wayne Allen said.

"One person in the car pulled out a gun and shot Thompson multiple times."

Thompson underwent surgery at a local hospital for injuries police described as serious but not believed to be life threatening.

Twenty minutes later, Edward Cox, 17, was shot while he was inside another store in the area.

Cox told police that he saw a man open the door to the store and start shooting at him. The bullets struck Cox in the face and neck, police said.

"The victim told police that the shooting was probably in retaliation for other shootings," Allen said.

Cox was taken to Tulsa Regional Medical Center with serious injuries. His condition was unavailable Tuesday. Police were able to question someone suspected in Cox's shooting.

"It appears at this point in the investigation that two rival criminal street gangs are in fact shooting back and forth," Ellis said. "This is an ongoing investigation, and we have not determined an exact motive yet."

Ellis said that while police suspect that the shootings involve rival gangs, officers will not identify the different groups to avoid giving them notoriety.