City gunfight caught on tape

First there was some kind of “physical altercation,” and then suddenly three gunmen began exchanging gunfire.

When it was over, much of the 600 block of Second Street was littered with about two dozen casings as 23-year-old Tevin Johnson, “bleeding profusely” from gunshot wounds, was loaded into the back of an SUV.

The gun battle allegedly involved Johnson, Marcellus C. Turner, who lifted Johnson into the back seat, and a third unidentified man who remains at large, according to city police investigators.

The altercation and subsequent shooting, which occurred about 2:20 a.m. on June 28, was recorded on video surveillance cameras, according to testimony presented Tuesday at Turner’s preliminary hearing.

Although the videos were not submitted as evidence at the hearing, veteran Agent Trent Peacock, who has viewed them, testified to what they revealed.

“There is a physical altercation before the shooting involving several females, and Mr. Johnson is in the mix of it,” Peacock said.

On the video, a man wearing camo shorts and a black T-shirt, later identified as Turner, is seen “following Johnson across the street as the fighting continued,” Peacock said.

Turner, who turns 24 on Thursday, lives at 523 Fifth Ave., according to court records.

Before the gun battle broke out, it appeared that Turner tried unsuccessfully to pull Johnson away from the commotion, Peacock said.

On the video, a gunman shoots in the direction of Johnson, Peacock said.

“You can see Johnson as he gets hit and collapses,” Peacock said, adding that Johnson managed to get off a few shots from his own gun as he went down.

Turner also pulls out a gun and fires in the direction of the unidentified gunman, the detective testified.

“You can see at least three muzzle flashes coming from the man wearing the camo shorts,” Peacock said.

After loading Johnson into the back of a Chevy Captiva, Turner got in the front passenger seat as the vehicle, driven by Dominique Mathis, drove away, according to what the officer said he saw on the video.

Officers, arriving on the scene to investigate a report of a shooting, saw the SUV pulling away. Witnesses told police that the vehicle was involved.

While one officer worked to secure the shooting scene, two others riding together in a second cruiser – Patrolmen Thomas Bortz and Mark Lindauer – pursued the vehicle to a dead end near Center and Lycoming streets.

Turner, Mathis and a second passenger, Jasmine Hill, “all exited the vehicle and were immediately detained,” court records state.

Johnson, of Philadelphia, was “unresponsive with multiple gunshot wounds,” according to the court records. He was rushed to the Williamsport Regional Medical Center and then transferred to a trauma center.

Mathis and Hill were released. No charges were filed against either one.

Turner, a convicted drug dealer, faces felony charges of convicted felon not to possess a firearm and carrying a firearm without a license.

Blood stains on Turner’s clothing was believed to be that of Johnson, who is recovering from his injuries.

On the stand, Peacock admitted that police did not recover any weapon on Turner or in the SUV.

Peacock said that on the morning of the shooting, Turner was intoxicated and therefore was not interviewed until several hours later.

“He gave an account of what happened, but denied knowing how Johnson got shot. He denied having a firearm,” Peacock testified.

“No one (in the car) knew anything about how Johnson was shot,” Peacock said, adding that even the victim was saying little.

“Johnson has been interviewed, but he has been less than cooperative. He’s telling us he doesn’t know how he was shot,” Peacock said.

Through his defense attorney, Turner entered a “not guilty” plea. Following the 30-minute hearing, District Judge James Carn ruled there was enough evidence to hold Turner on the two felonies.

Following the hearing, Turner was returned to the Lycoming County Prison, where he is being held in lieu $500,000 bail.