A nearly two (2) year joint investigation by the Special Investigations Unit of the District Attorney’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Philadelphia Police Department, and the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania led to the arrests of four individuals for their roles in a plot to intimidate and shoot a witness.
Today, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office charged 35-year-old Charles Alexander, 42-year-old Troy Cooper, 37-year-old Aki Jones, and 21-year-old Shaheed Williams with Attempted Murder, Witness Intimidation, Aggravated Assault, and Conspiracy.
On November 22, 2010, gunfire erupted on Turner Street following an altercation among several women. A witness to the shooting called 9-1-1 to report what he saw. As a result, police arrested Aki Jones for his involvement in the altercation and charged him with firearm and related offenses.
On the day of trial, September 26, 2011, the witness was shot several times at close range while exiting his house in the morning. The shooter, Shaheed Williams, is an associate of Aki Jones. Williams first pointed the gun at the witness’ head and fired, striking a hand that covered his head. Another two shots were fired at the witness as he fled, knocking him down. Williams caught up to his target and said: “You won’t talk no more.” He fired the final shot “execution style.” That shot struck the neck, but, miraculously missed the spinal cord. Williams’ target survived this brutal shooting.
A joint investigation by an ATF Task Force, the Philadelphia Police Department, and the Special Investigations Unit of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office uncovered the detailed plan of Aki Jones and his associates to prevent the witness from testifying against Jones. The plan that ended in this shooting, began when the conspirators, including other associates of Aki Jones – Charles Alexander and Troy Cooper – arranged to bribe the witness with $500 in exchange for not testifying against Jones. When the witness did not accept the offer, he was shot the next day.
Aki Jones and Shaheed Williams are currently incarcerated on unrelated cases. Charles Alexander and Troy Cooper were arrested by ATF agents this morning and are currently being processed by the Philadelphia Police Department.
“I first want to applaud the victim in this case,” said District Attorney Seth Williams. “At a time when too many witness are afraid to go to court because they are intimidated by thugs like these defendants, this victim heroically came forward despite being shot and made sure that justice was not denied.”
“We need to bring an end to the anti-snitching culture that is so pervasive in some of our communities,” added ATF Special Agent in Charge Sam Rabadi. “Gun-toting law breakers who try to silence and intimidate witnesses from coming forward continue to pose a huge threat to the citizens of our city. The charges and arrests today sends a strong message to criminals that our brave neighborhood residents who do come forward will be heard – loud and clear. If you attempt to intimidate or retaliate against a witness, you will be identified, arrested, and prosecuted to the maximum extent of the law.”
The case is assigned to Assistant District Attorney Douglas Rhoads of the Special Investigations Unit.