An 18-year-old charged with murder and the 15-year-old he allegedly shot and killed in the early morning hours of July 4 in Edgewood were members of a rival street gangs, police said.
Rahzir Martin Meyers, a known Bloods gang member, according to police, is charged with first-degree murder and first-degree assault, along with five other related misdemeanors, for allegedly shooting 15-year-old Khalil Lephonzo Johnson, killing him.
Meyers, of the 1300 block of Hidden Brook Court in Abingdon, is being held without bail at the Harford County Detention Center.
“Both Mr. Meyers and Mr. Johnson are known to deputies and are associates or members of known street gangs we have in Harford County, opposing street gangs,” Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler said during a news conference Monday afternoon at the Sheriff’s Office headquarters in Bel Air.
Investigators, however, have not determined a clear motive in the shooting death of Johnson, who was shot around 12:15 a.m. Thursday in the area near Eloise Lane and Brookside Drive in Edgewood.
“Investigators have heard different things, but not nailed down one specific issue or motive,” Gahler said.
When deputies arrived, they encountered a large, uncooperative crowd of about 50 people outside the house Johnson had run into, Gahler said.
“Efforts to deliver care were further impeded by occupants of the residence initially unwilling to permit deputies inside,” Gahler said.
Johnson was flown to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where he was pronounced dead, Gahler said.
“We don’t know how it would have ended, but having quicker access to Mr. Johnson would have helped,” Kyle Andersen, public information officer for the Sheriff’s Office, said.
Johnson was taken to the medical examiner’s office for an autopsy and his death was ruled a homicide by a gunshot wound to the chest, according to charging documents.
Detectives investigating the case received several tips naming Meyers as the shooter and that Meyers had been shot in the leg during the incident.
On Friday, Meyers was arrested by the Sheriff’s Office crime suppression unit on drug charges and when police searched Meyers, discovered what looked like a gunshot graze wound on his right thigh, according to charging documents.
Meyers was released on $10,000 bond Sunday from the Harford County Detention Center on the drug charges.
Another witness told police Meyers was standing on Brookside Drive and allegedly firing a handgun toward Eloise Lane and Johnson, according to charging documents.
Video surveillance show several people standing on Brookside and at least one person firing a handgun toward Eloise and Johnson, who was also seen running from the area toward the 1900 block of Eloise Lane, according to charging documents.
Detectives obtained a warrant to arrest Meyers in the homicide and, with his family, he turned himself into the Sheriff’s Office headquarters on Sunday.
While the crowd outside hindered deputies’ response, Gahler said that contrary to that “we’re very appreciative of the support of our community in the form of members coming forward to share information that assisted in the investigation of the case that resulted, ultimately, in the arrest of Mr. Meyers.”
Meyers was arrested in May on charges of trespassing, failure to obey a lawful police order and disorderly conduct after deputies tried to serve a banning letter to him.
A deputy told Meyers he was banned from the Windsor Valley Apartments, not far from where Thursday’s shooting occurred, which was having “problems regarding numerous local Bloods gang members,” but Meyers disregarded the deputy’s comments and walked over to the apartments, according to charging documents.
Detectives were “familiar with Meyers, who is a Safe Streets offender and a confirmed Bloods gang member” with the Sheriff’s Office, according to charging documents.