Duluth man sentenced on drive-by shooting charge at May homicide scene
While not responsible for the killing of Juamada Anderson, defendant Tyrone Childs admitted to firing off a handgun in the chaotic aftermath of the fatal shooting.
The first defendant to plead guilty to his actions at the scene of a homicide in Duluth's Central Hillside neighborhood in May has been sentenced to just over 5 ½ years in prison for multiple crimes.
Tyrone Deshun Childs Sr., 36, admitted to firing off a handgun from inside a van at the chaotic crime scene where 22-year-old Juamada Keller Anderson Jr. was killed.
According to court documents, Childs told police he was sitting in a nearby vehicle when an altercation broke out on the 100 block of East Third Street on May 22. He said he used a 9 mm handgun to fire at "some Native dude" before handing the weapon off to an unidentified juvenile.
Childs, one of four people accused of discharging a firearm at the scene, was not alleged to have been responsible for striking anyone. Patrick Wilson Battees Jr., 18, is charged with Anderson's killing.
Childs, who has prior gun and drug convictions, pleaded guilty Sept. 23 to counts of drive-by shooting and possession of a firearm by a felon. He separately pleaded guilty in another case to two counts of third-degree sale of a controlled substance.
Judge Jill Eichenwald on Monday imposed a 67-month sentence for the drive-by shooting conviction, with lesser terms on the three other charges to be served concurrently. The sentence was consistent with a plea agreement reached between Childs and the St. Louis County Attorney's Office.
Video allegedly shows Morris, 32, walking up to Battees on the porch and demonstrating "preattack cues by sizing up Battees and pulling his shorts up." Anderson can then be seen getting between the two men before Morris pushes him against the railing, the reports state.
Investigators said Ladd, 26, could then be seen entering the confrontation and punching Battees. As the scuffle moved toward the sidewalk, Ladd reportedly could be seen handing an item — which investigators believe to be a gun — to Morris.
Battees is then allegedly seen taking out his own firearm and shooting, striking Anderson as the crowd begins to disperse. Video allegedly shows Morris pointing his gun and shooting at Battees before handing the weapon back to Ladd. Police said Battees fled the scene but was arrested a few blocks away after stashing his gun in a discarded couch.
Another suspect, 17-year-old Eddie Ezra Conyers Jr., also has been charged and certified to stand trial as an adult after allegedly admitting to police that he "wanted to see a fight" and fired off five shots at the scene.
Investigators subsequently indicated the incident may have been linked to a 2020 shooting that reportedly injured a relative of Ladd. Battees was not charged with the shooting itself, but did serve a nine-month jail sentence in Douglas County after leading police on a resulting high-speed chase.
Judge Theresa Neo concluded that Battees "poses a risk of harm due to a mental illness," citing the diagnoses included in a court-appointed psychologist's report: "clinical presentation of malingering, antisocial personality disorder, PTSD, severe amphetamine use disorder, severe alcohol use disorder (and) moderate cannabis use disorder."
Battees will initially be committed to a state facility for a period of up to six months, but the term can be extended as deemed necessary by treatment professionals and the court. Prosecutors are ultimately seeking to have him tried as an adult on murder and firearm charges.
Ladd faces a Dec. 21 court date, while future hearings were not listed for Morris or Conyers.