GULFPORT -- Police have obtained arrest warrants for three men on murder and assault charges in the Feb. 7 shooting after a Pass Christian parade and arrested a fourth suspect in DeLisle, while a man wounded in crossfire faces a firearm charge.
Pass Christian Police Chief Tim Hendricks announced the arrests Friday afternoon in a probe of crossfire that killed two people and wounded four.
Four suspects each face two counts of second-degree murder and three counts each of aggravated assault and one count of possession of a firearm after a felony conviction.
Hendricks identified them as 23-year-old Gulfport residents Malcolm Joseph Dedeaux, Jessie Lee Williams Jr., Jermaine Rashad Ratcliff, and DeLisle resident Donald Dedeaux, also 23.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Sun Herald
Dedeaux was taken into custody late Friday afternoon. His bonds have been set at $2.6 million.
The others were already in custody after having probation revoked since the shooting on felony convictions. They aren't eligible for bond.
After the shooting, Ratcliff was arrested on a charge of possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
Ratcliff was on probation for a 2007 cocaine-possession conviction.
Williams was on probation for 2011 convictions on accessory after the fact of murder and driveby shooting.
Malcolm Dedeaux was on probation for a 2011 drug-possession conviction.
A fifth person to be charged is Charles Earl Johnson, one of the wounded, whose probation on a felony conviction was revoked earlier Friday in federal court. He faces a charge of possession of a firearm by a felon, Hendricks said.
Johnson's attorney earlier Friday raised issues indicating Johnson was the intended target of the shooting.
Second-degree murder, also known as depraved-heart murder, is a killing committed in an act of imminent danger to others but without pre-meditation.
"We are pleased to announce arrests but this investigation is ongoing and we could still have charges against other people or against those we've already identified," he said.
No motive for the shooting has been released.
The two men killed had been identified by police as bystanders struck by stray bullets.
Isaiah "Winky" Lee Major III, 43, of Bay St. Louis, and Carlos "Los" Bates, 29, of Gulfport, died in the shooting as hundreds of people scrambled for safety. Johnson and three others were wounded. An estimated 50,000 people attended the St. Paul Carnival Association Mardi Gras parade and up to 1,500 were on Davis Avenue at Ladnier Street when shots were fired 15 minutes after the parade ended.
Johnson was shot twice in a leg and once in an arm. Others wounded have been identified as a 23-year-old man and woman and a 22-year-old man.
U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden on Friday morning sentenced Johnson, 29, to the maximum penalty of five years in prison for violating conditions of his probation on a cocaine-trafficking conviction from a 2008 arrest.
"This court has a difficult time imagining how Mr. Johnson could have violated terms of his release any other way," Ozerden said.
Johnson showed a lack of respect for the law, the court, his probation and the safety of the community, he said.
Johnson had pleaded guilty March 15 to smoking marijuana three times since October and failing to show up for two drug tests. One of the missed drug tests was set for Feb. 4, three days before the shooting. He also had failed to report he'd had contact with Gulfport Police.
His final hearing had been delayed on accusations related to the shooting.
On Friday, Johnson did not contest accusations that he had associated with at least one felon before and after the Pass shooting, was in possession of a firearm and fired shots into the crowd along with several others.
'They wanted to kill him'
A federal marshal rolled Johnson into court in a wheelchair. Police have said at least one of his three wounds were from a shot fired at his back.
Witnesses who saw the shooting or were wounded have said Johnson had a gun at the parade, pulled it out and fired shots, federal probation officer Robert Walters testified.
Johnson's attorney, Michael Crosby, asked if it is possible several armed people approached Johnson and tried to kill him.
"They wanted to kill him," Crosby said.
That was not part of the probation investigation, Walters replied.
Prosecutor Annette Williams filed as an exhibit a document showing the original conviction of Rodney Jerome Burks, a felon with whom Johnson was with before and during the parade. Pass Police had arrested Burks, 26, on a charge of possession with intent to distribute marijuana during a probe of shooting. He also was held on a state probation warrant.
Eight had been arrested
Johnson and Burks were among eight people arrested in related investigations after the shooting. Johnson's mother also was arrested, accused of hindering prosecution by taking his bloody clothes from the hospital where he was being treated.
Ozerden said Johnson's probation would have been revoked without the shooting-related accusations. He called Johnson a danger to the community and said he has not learned a lesson and must be punished to deter future crimes.
Johnson had been sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2009 for his involvement in a deal to buy 15 kilos of cocaine for $300,000. He was arrested at a Diamondhead home.