City man jailed on charges of removing guns from Maple Street shooting victim

Moments after a 19-year-old man was shot in the head in the 600 block of Maple Street during the early morning hours of July 17, Jamal Johnson removed not one, but two handguns that the teen was carrying, city police alleged in court papers.

Johnson, 25, of 901 High St., was arrested Friday on charges of tampering with evidence, illegal possesion of a firearm and possession with intent to deliver 15 bags of marijuana.

Police were called to Maple Street to investigate a reported shooting about 2:20 a.m. and when they got there, they found the victim lying outside the front door of a home “with a gunshot wound to the head,” Agent Jason Bolt said in an affidavit.

The teen was rushed to Williamsport Regional Medical Center, where he was admitted to the intensive care unit.

Police have not given any updates on the victim’s condition since the shooting.

At the scene, officers questioned Johnson, who was visiting a relative in the the block, police said. Johnson said the victim “was a friend (of his) who apparently was shot as he was coming to visit,” Bolt wrote in the affidavit.

As officers were securing the scene, “a witness came forward and reported seeing Johnson remove a silver handgun from the victim’s waistband and took it into a house prior to the arrival of police,” Bolt said.

The house belongs to the relative Johnson was visiting, police said.

When questioned about the matter, “Johnson initially denied taking a gun from the victim,” Bolt said.

When officers asked Johnson’s relative for her permission to search her house, she initially denied the officers’ request, Bolt said.

When officers told Johnson and his relative that police would get a warrant from a judge to search the property, “Johnson then admitted he had removed ‘guns’ (plural) from the victim because he didn’t want the victim to get in trouble for having them,” Bolt said.

Johnson then told the officers that he “hid them in the living room couch. Upon hearing this, the relative gave her consent to the officers to search the couch,” Bolt said.

From the couch, officers recovered “two handguns and a ziplock bag containing 15 bags of marijuana packaged for sale,” Bolt said.

There is a protection from abuse order against Johnson that was issued in May and extends to the middle of November, police said, adding that because of the order, Johnson is prohibited from handling firearms.

Following his arraignment before District Judge Jerry C. Lepley, Johnson was committed to the Lycoming County Prison in lieu of $150,000 bail.

No one has yet been charged with the shooting itself.

This was the first of five shootings to have occurred in the city in just under three weeks.

Police also are still pursuing leads in the unsolved homicide of 16-year-old Ayliem Coleman, of Wlliamsport, who was shot in the 900 block of Market Street about 1:30 a.m. on July 30. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Two days earlier, on July 28, a 17-year-old boy was shot on Almond Street, near Meade Street about 9:40 p.m.

The teen is recovering from gunshot wounds. No arrest has been made in this case.

One week after the shooting on Maple Street, Kerry Young, 37, of Williamsport, was gunned down while he was driving in the 300 block of Maple Street about 7 p.m. on July 24.

The alleged killer, Thomas Matthews III, 32, fled to Lock Haven, where he lived, and shot himself to death in the early-morning hours of July 25 during a lengthy standoff with police, officials said.

The last shooting occurred inside the Uni-Mart at 1944 W. Fourth St., where customer Rhonda McPeak, an employee at the nearby Dunkin’, was killed and clerk JoBeth Wetzel was wounded during a botched robbery.

The alleged gunman, I-Keem Damont Fogan, 21, of Loyalsock Township, and an alleged accomplice who served as a lookout, Noah Samuel Stroup, 23, of Williamsport, have been arrested and remain behind bars on no bail.