A felon awaiting judgment for failing to appear on pending felonies is accused of arguing with Deverick Johnson on Monday night and then shooting him in the back of the head, records show.
James Wilson McDowell, 28, faces a murder charge in the death of Johnson in the 100 block of North Lang Avenue.
McDowell and Johnson were passengers in a vehicle and arguing over a stolen gun and money when McDowell got out of the vehicle, shot Johnson and fled in another vehicle, according to a Long Beach police detective’s affidavit.
Michael Anthony Taylor drove the getaway vehicle and Charity Roxanne McDowell was in the front seat when the car drove off with McDowell, the affidavit says. Taylor and Charity McDowell, both 29, each face a charge of accessory after the fact to murder. The charge is a felony.
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Charity McDowell is James McDowell’s sister, police Chief Wayne McDowell said. The police chief is not related to them. Some witnesses said Taylor is her boyfriend, he said.
Police were notified of the shooting just north of West Railroad Street about 7:20 p.m. Monday.
A woman told police she didn’t know the shooter, but said he is Charity McDowell’s brother, the affidavit says.
Police found Taylor and Charity McDowell in the 3000 block of 21st Street in Gulfport and brought them to the police department for questioning.
Taylor said James McDowell was the shooter, and police arrested the couple and took them to the Harrison County jail, the affidavit says. Taylor reportedly identified James McDowell out of a photo lineup.
The couple were jailed early Tuesday morning.
Hours later, police arrested James McDowell after a a two-hour standoff in Gulfport. Gulfport police sent a SWAT team to a home on Hewes Avenue, which had other people inside as well. After futile attempts to get him out by talking to him on a bullhorn, the SWAT team threw flash-bang grenades and tear gas.
McDowell had an initial appearance on the murder charge Wednesday at the Harrison County jail. He is held with no bond, said Herman Cox, Harrison County prosecuting attorney. A preliminary hearing on the murder charge will likely be held in two weeks, he said.
Convictions, pending charges
At the time of the shooting, McDowell was on parole as a felon in possession of a firearm from an arrest in 2013, records show.
He’s been arrested several times, most notably in 2007, when he participated in a drive-by shooting that wounded an 8-year-old girl in Gulfport. The girl was in a FEMA trailer on Holly Circle when she was struck.
McDowell was convicted on that charge and a cocaine charge.
Since 2015, he’s been arrested on six other felonies: burglary of a residence; directing or causing a youth under age 17 to commit a felony; drug possession; unlawful possession of a firearm; and two counts of possession with intent to distribute drugs.
McDowell failed to appear in court on those charges. He is scheduled to appear in Harrison County Circuit Court on Monday for a judgment, the court docket shows.
Bonds for Taylor and Charity McDowell were set at $150,000 each. She has been released on bond. Taylor remained in custody early Wednesday night.
GoFundMe account seeks donations
Friends of Johnson had turned to GoFundMe to raise money for his funeral. The $1,500 request was met, and the family has asked that further donations be used to pay for an airline ticket to bring one of Johnson’s three brothers home for his funeral.
The fund’s new name is called The Financial Help for Rod Johnson.
Johnson and his three brothers were raised by their grandmother and aunt and each attended school in Long Beach, substitute teacher Belinda Hosli Tipton said on the GoFundMe page.
Tipton said she will use further donations to buy Rod Johnson an airplane ticket.
“They have since lost both grandmother and aunt who they called mom,” she said.