Witnesses testify to seeing alleged shooter with gun

The second day of the Terrance X. Perez homicide trial saw two witnesses who testified to seeing Perez holding a gun during the day of the shooting.

Perez, 22, is accused of fatally shooting Jamil M. Bryant outside of Bryant’s residence on Anthony Street on May 11, 2015.

Brooke Dawson, Cosme Berrones’s girlfriend, testified she saw Perez holding a gun at the residence she shared with Berrones, 21, of the city, the day of the shooting. Dawson said she knew there had been an ongoing argument about money, but she was uncertain of the details.

Berrones pleaded guilty last week to third-degree homicide for his involvement in the killing.

Dawson said Perez and Brandon Love were arguing over the phone with Bryant off and on throughout the day.

“It was mostly about money. … There was some yelling,” she said. “I think Terrance got on the phone at some point and said he wasn’t scared to shoot him. … He’s not afraid to shoot him.”

She said Perez had a silver revolver but he needed bullets. He left her place and returned with a different gun, she said.

“It was big … black,” she said.

Shown a picture of an assault rifle, she said that was the gun she saw Perez carrying when he came back to her home.

Perez, Love and Berrones left the house together, and she heard Perez talking before they left. “He (Perez) said, ‘We’re doing this,’ “ she said.

She said she did not see them until they returned when she let them in. She described Berrones as vacant after returning.

“He didn’t say anything … he was just blank,” she said. “Both Brandon and Terrance were very like excited … just very different.”

She said Perez was talking.

“He said he shot him 16 times. … He said he shot that (expletive) 16 times,” she said.

Another witness, Christopher Hayman, testified he opened a storage unit in Loyalsock Township for Perez during the night of the shooting. He drove to meet Perez there, he said, but he did not know who drove Perez to the facility.

Hayman said the unit belonged to someone he referred to “like an uncle,” Troy Brown. Hayman used Brown’s code to let Perez into the storage facility and Hayman unlocked the individual unit itself for Perez.

Hayman said he smoked in his van while Perez looked through the unit, but then Perez returned to his car with an assault rifle.

“He had a weapon with him. … It was an AR or an AK, black, a rifle,” Hayman said. “He put it in the backseat.”

Hayman drove Perez out of the storage unit facility and dropped him off, with his ride just outside. Lycoming County District Attorney Eric R. Lindhardt asked Hayman why he would take Perez while he was armed with a gun.

“I don’t know. My mind went blank,” he said. “High and panic ain’t a good mix…. I just dropped him off and left.”

Lindhardt asked if he was sure he saw Perez with a gun.

“Yes, I seen the gun. … It wasn’t in no kind of bag,” Hayman said.

Stephen J. Sorage, county detective, testified .22 caliber ammunition was found inside the storage unit, the same type of ammunition recovered at the scene of the shooting. Sorage said Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 assault rifle owner’s manual also was recovered from the storage unit.

Carla Johns, a resident of Penn Street and Bryant’s neighbor, testified to being outside on her porch the night of the shooting.

“I saw a man running with a very large gun down the street,” she said. “His sneakers were slapping the pavement, and it caught my eye as I was sitting on my porch.”

She said she was familiar with hunting and knew the gun to be an assault rifle. She described the person as about 18 to 21 years old, “like a younger kid.” She said he was Caucasian with a small frame.

She went inside her home to call 911, she said. “I needed to call somebody and let them know, hey, there’s a kid out here with a big gun,” she said.

Shortly after she called, she said, she heard shots fired and someone screaming, so she called 911 again to tell them someone had been shot. She testified to seeing one person.

Perez faces charges of criminal homicide, conspiracy of criminal homicide, two counts of aggravated assault, conspiracy of aggravated assault and possession of a prohibited firearm.

Perez’s trial is scheduled to continue today and through Monday before President Judge Nancy L. Butts.