LIMA — Two Lima men who police say fired shots at an individual with alleged ties to the shooting death earlier this year of Lima resident Christian Laws have been indicted on charges of gang-related criminal activity.
Jamaree Allen, 24, and Eric Wilson Jr., 25, entered pleas of not guilty Thursday during their arraignment hearings in Allen County Common Pleas Court. The charges are related to gunshots discharged near the intersection of North Cole Street and Edgewood Drive in Lima on June 21, shortly after a funeral service for Laws had concluded in the 1800 block of North Cole Street.
Allen County Prosecuting Attorney Juergen Waldick said his office elected to pursue charges of participating in gang activity and additional criminal gang activity specifications against Allen and Wilson to send a message that violent gun crimes will not be tolerated.
Waldick said prosecutors “decided to take a look at a number of recent shootings that appear to be related and decided to seek gang-related charges” against the two Lima men.
“We are trying to break the cycle of violence that we’re seeing,” Waldick said. “Hopefully this has some sort of deterrent effect.”
According to court documents, Lima police officers were dispatched to the scene after receiving several reports of shots being fired. Multiple houses and one vehicle were found to have been struck by gunfire, and “numerous bullet casings” were found beside a car wash at 1301 Edgewood Drive.
Witnesses said two black males exited a vehicle in front of Wally’s Fillin’ Station and ran toward the car wash when they starting firing their weapons. A passenger in a blue pickup truck, identified as Romelo Blackman, reportedly was the target. According to a police narrative, Blackman is familiar to police through his “ties to an individual wanted for the homicide of Christian Laws.”
After interviewing several witnesses, police determined that Wilson and Allen were the subjects who exited the vehicle in question and fired the shots toward the pickup.
Allen is charged with participating in a criminal gang, a second-degree felony that includes a three-year firearm specification; two counts of felonious assault, second-degree felonies with criminal gang activity, firearm and repeat violent offender specifications; two counts of discharging of a firearm into a habitation, felonies of the second degree with firearm, criminal gang activity and repeat violent offender specifications; having weapons under disability, a third-degree felony; improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, a third degree felony; and carrying a concealed weapon, a fourth-degree felony.
Wilson is charged with participating in a criminal gang with a firearm specification; two counts of felonious assault with firearm and criminal gang activity specifications; two counts of discharging a firearm into a habitation; carrying a concealed weapon; improper handling of firearms in a motor vehicle and having weapons under disability.
Laws’ body was found on the evening of June 14 in the 2400 block of Lark Avenue. He was pronounced dead at the scene, and an autopsy revealed his death stemmed from a single gunshot wound, authorities said. Laws’ death was Allen County’s fourth homicide of 2019.
Jolade Reginald Omosikeji Jr., 21, has been charged with murder in Laws’ death.