Markese Davis told his friend Robert McGhee-Gould that they were going to need a handgun on the night of June 2. But Davis was wearing athletic shorts and sweats, so he gave the gun to McGhee-Gould to tuck into his waistband, according to an Omaha police detective’s account.
As Davis, McGhee-Gould and other friends hung out near the giant slides in Gene Leahy Mall, a group of 15 members of the Crips gang walked nearby.
Davis went to McGhee- Gould, grabbed the gun, brandished it, then returned fire when a Crip began shooting, Omaha Police Detective Matt Backora testified Friday.
Caught in the crossfire was Jasmine Harris, an innocent bystander who was shot in the chest by a 9 mm bullet — which police think was fired by the Crip.
Harris was taken to a hospital, where she died. Six other people also were shot, including McGhee-Gould, who was shot in the foot.
No one has been arrested in connection with Harris’ slaying. But Davis, 20, will stand trial on a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm, a judge ruled Friday.
McGhee-Gould and two other witnesses told police that just before 11:45 p.m. June 2, they saw Davis take hold of a handgun shortly before they heard shots near 11th and Farnam Streets following the Taste of Omaha event, Backora testified.
One man contacted Harris’ father through Facebook after seeing news of her death. The man told him he was there and had information to share with the police. The man had been walking with a woman on Farnam Street and encountered the Crips. The man shook hands with one of the Crips he knew as a youth and then continued to walk.
The man said he noticed a guy grab a gun from his friend’s waistband. He then heard 10 to 15 shots and ran away.
In a police interview, the man identified Davis in a photo lineup as the one holding the gun.
Two different types of shell casings — seven .40-caliber casings and 10 9 mm casings — were found at the scene.
The area where witnesses said Davis was standing matched where the .40-caliber shell casings were scattered on the ground, Backora said.
Joe Howard, Davis’ attorney, said police have not recovered any gun in connection with the shooting and argued that witnesses could have seen a BB or pellet gun.
“It really comes down to the credibility of the witnesses in this case,” Howard said after the hearing. “The worst type of evidence, in my humble opinion, is eyewitness testimony, because our minds change. ... Physical evidence usually is much better in terms of determining what happened.”
Prosecutor Jim Masteller disagreed with Howard’s BB gun theory.
“These felon-in-possession cases where we don’t actually recover the firearm are especially challenging,” he said. “However, we know a BB gun wasn’t used in this case because BB guns don’t shoot real bullets.”