Montrell Wiseman died being polite.
An Omaha police detective testified Monday that Wiseman, a 16-year-old South High student, was shot in the chest and killed Oct. 21 as he held open the door of a house near 21st and Binney Streets for three female friends.
Wiseman and a group of friends had been talking outside the house but decided to go inside after noticing a purple van cruising the neighborhood.
“They were feeling uneasy about the way the occupants of the van were looking at them,” Officer Chris Gordon, a homicide detective, said in court. “They were trying to go inside.”
A Douglas County judge ruled Monday that there is enough evidence to try five men accused of being involved in the shooting.
Angelo Tolbert is accused of shooting Wiseman and Desjuha Wilkinson, also 16. Tolbert, 20, who is being held without bail, is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree assault and use of a firearm to commit a felony.
Four others — Francis Cayou, 38, Matthew G. Saunsoci, 26, Adam Gamble, 24, and Joshua M. Vanackeren, 22 — also are being held on bail amounts ranging from $300,000 to $2 million for their alleged roles in the slaying.
“We're just at the beginning of getting justice for my son,” said Wiseman's mother, Sherrie Plunkett of Omaha. “We got a little bit of justice, but we've got a long way to go.”
Prosecutors told the judge that the five suspects had been drinking in the early hours Oct. 21 and left a house with plans to shoplift more alcohol. But then the group decided to drive around in a rival gang's territory, looking for someone to shoot, prosecutors said.
Detectives testified Monday that the men wanted revenge for the September shooting death of Anthony Saunsoci, a relative of suspect Matthew Saunsoci.
Police and prosecutors say Wiseman and Wilkinson were innocent victims who had no connection to the suspects or to Anthony Saunsoci's death. They were targeted because they were in an area considered home to the Bloods gang. They were wearing red Husker gear at the time.
Authorities said Tolbert, known as “Baby Boy” among his friends, and Gamble, whose nickname is “A.D.,” are members of the 44th Avenue Crips, who are rivals with the Bloods.
According to Monday's court testimony, the men in the van drove by and spotted the teens standing outside. They circled around again and pulled into a nearby alley directly across from the group. They swung the door open and began firing with a 20-gauge shotgun.
Olson said Wilkinson was shot in the pelvis as she walked inside the house. The two other girls were uninjured.
Detectives said Vanackeren, the driver, took off after the shooting, going about 15 to 20 feet before he lost control of the van and crashed into a pole. Tolbert, Gamble and Cayou ran, police said. Vanackeren started to run but went back for Saunsoci, who was drunk and had passed out in the back of the van.
Saunsoci's attorney asked the judge to dismiss a charge of conspiracy to commit murder against his client because he was asleep when the group discussed what it planned to do that evening and when the shooting occurred. The judge refused.
Detectives also testified Monday that the men almost found different victims earlier that same evening. They pulled alongside a car holding two people, but the safety was on the shotgun when Tolbert attempted to shoot, police said. The would-be victims sped away to safety.
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