An Edgewood man was found guilty of a gang-related murder in 2019, the Harford County State’s Attorney’s Office announced Monday.
Rahzir Meyers, 20, was found guilty of murder, assault, firearms and gang participation charges at the conclusion of a two-week jury trial in Harford County Circuit Court on Oct. 1.
According to a statement from the state’s attorney’s office, Harford County sheriff’s deputies responded to the 1900 block of Eloise Lane in Edgewood on July 4, 2019, for a reported shooting. There, they found Khalil Johnson, 15, who had been shot in the back. He was taken to University of Maryland, Shock Trauma in Baltimore, but died of his injuries.
According to prosecutors, Meyers was a member of the 400 Bloods gang, which was feuding with a local subset of the Crips. Witnesses said that Meyers was on Brookside Drive and fired a gun in the direction of Eloise Lane and Johnson. Video footage captured by cameras at the scene showed several people standing on Brookside Drive with at least one of them firing a handgun in the direction of Eloise Lane.
A group of people had gathered on the street from midafternoon of July 3 through the early hours of July 4, including children and others from the neighborhood who were celebrating Independence Day, according to the state’s attorney’s office.
The video also shows Johnson running from the scene toward Eloise Lane’s 1900 block, where he later collapsed, according to the statement. Multiple shell casings were recovered from the area, as was a laser attachment for a gun. That attachment was later found to have Meyers’ DNA on it.
Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler previously said that Johnson and Meyers were known associates or members of the opposing gangs. According to prosecutors, Johnson’s shooting was in retaliation for another incident in which the Crips shot at the Bloods.
State’s Attorney Albert Peisinger thanked jurors, the sheriff’s office and the attorneys who prosecuted the case and said his office would continue “to use all available tools to disrupt and dismantle violent street gangs.”
“Rahzir Meyers showed a shocking indifference to human life by carrying out this brutal gang murder in front of his entire community,” Peisinger said. “It is my hope that this verdict brings a measure of justice to the family of the victim of this callous and senseless act.”
A charge of gang participation is challenging to prove. Prosecutors must show that a person willingly and knowingly participated in or directed criminal acts in service to — or association with — a gang, according to Maryland statute. Prosecutors also have to prove that person is in a gang.
Meyers’ attorney, Henry Barnes, said that he respected the court, jury and prosecutors, but did not believe there was proof beyond a reasonable doubt to convict his client. The state’s witnesses, he said, were unreliable, and DNA from multiple people was found on the laser recovered from the scene. In addition, the gang participation charge allowed prosecutors to use evidence of Meyer’s gang involvement to support the murder charge, he said. Absent that gang-related evidence, there would not have been a murder conviction.
“There wasn’t even proof beyond a reasonable doubt that he was there,” Barnes said.
Barnes said he and Meyers were weighing their next steps, including an appeal, but no decision has been made.
“My client and I do intend to explore, review and ultimately pursue whatever legal remedies that are available to us,” he said.
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Meyers’ sentencing has not yet been scheduled, according to electronic court records.