Denzel Shabazz Jones came to Edgewood with two others in mid-December, seeking revenge for being shot two years earlier, according to police. But Jones, 22, of Middle River ended up dead when one of the two people accompanying him inadvertently shot him in the back during the incident, according to documents filed in Harford County District Court
One of those two men, Emonye O’Neil White, 19, of the 12000 block of Sugar Mill Circle in Middle River, has been charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter in connection to the Jones’ death.
Court documents do not specify whether White or the other person, who police did not identify, fired the shot that killed Jones.
White was held without bond after a Friday bail review hearing. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 10 years and a possible fine of up to $500.
White was being held at the Harford County Detention Center on unrelated charges when he was charged with involuntary manslaughter, according to the Harford County Sheriff’s Office.
At approximately 6:07 a.m. Dec. 15, deputies responded to the 1400 block of Hanson Road in Edgewood where they found Jones deceased in the front yard. Further investigation revealed that Jones, White and the third unidentified individual went to the street and began shooting at a private residence, police said.
Multiple residents of the area reported hearing gunshots between 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. the previous night, according to charging documents.
Jones, White and the third person allegedly went to the residence on Hanson Road Dec. 14 to “seek vengeance for [Jones] being shot two years prior,” according to the documents.
“Mr. Jones knew who had shot him [two years earlier] but requested police not continue the investigation; however, one of the suspected perpetrators resided at [the Hanson Road address],” the documents state.
White recounted the shooting and events leading up to it to others after it happened, detectives learned through interviews, according to the documents.
The three approached the house on foot and at least two of them opened fire, according to the documents. Deputies found 15 shell casings and two live rounds on the lawn near Jones.
After the volley of gunfire, White and the unnamed person ran away before realizing that Jones was not with them, the documents state. They went back to check on Jones and thought he may have been hit by a bullet; he was lying on the ground in front of the residence. Investigators found that Jones had been shot once in the back.
“When they attempted to get him up, Mr. White said [Jones] had some sort of seizure so he was left there,” the documents state.
No casings or ballistic evidence was recovered from inside the house, the documents state, suggesting that no shots were fired from the residence.
On Dec. 23, sheriff’s deputies arrested White on a warrant for violation of probation during a traffic stop. Before the stop began, White and another occupant of the car switched seats, the documents state. The person sitting where White had been was found to be carrying a 9mm handgun.
When tested, that gun proved to be a ballistic match to the casings found where Jones died, according to the documents.
Search warrants served on White’s cellphone and social media accounts uncovered messages showing that White wanted to trade a 9mm pistol for another 9mm pistol, the documents state. Search history on White’s cellphone showed that he was looking for a light for the same brand of handgun recovered in the traffic stop.
At Friday’s bail review hearing, assistant public defender Brad Clark said that White had lived in Harford County his whole life until he moved to Middle River two years ago. He said that White was close to Jones and disputed the charges against him.
“The victim in this case was like a brother to him,” Clark said. “Mr. White does refute these charges vehemently.”
Clark said White wished to be released because he was experiencing trying times — his mother had died suddenly within the past few years and his father was on life support due to end stage renal failure. Clark argued that home monitoring could allay public safety concerns and allow White to be released and spend time with “the family that he does have left.”