An Omaha man returned fire with his Glock 21 handgun after gunmen shot into a large crowd outside a North Omaha bar last summer, an Omaha police detective testified Wednesday.
Five people were injured in the shooting. One of them, 19-year-old Jazsmine Washington, died. She suffered two gunshot wounds to her right arm and a third, fatal one to her rib cage, said Omaha Police Detective David Preston Jr.
While bullets of various sizes — 9 mm, .40-caliber and .45-caliber — ricocheted in the air early on July 4, just a single .45-caliber projectile was recovered from Washington's body.
After a traffic stop and some detective and forensics work, investigators determined Davelle Giles to be the person who fired the .45-caliber bullet that killed Washington.
Giles, 26, will stand trial on charges of second-degree murder and use of a firearm to commit a felony, Douglas County Judge Stephanie Shearer ruled Wednesday.
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Giles' attorney, Assistant Douglas County Public Defender Kyle Melia, argued that Giles unintentionally killed Washington because he returned fire after at least two others started the shooting. He therefore should face a manslaughter charge, not a murder charge, Melia said.
But Shearer said firing into a crowd is an intentional act and ordered him to face the second-degree murder charge. Nebraska law says the charge applies when a killing is done intentionally but without premeditation.
The gunfire erupted about 3:17 a.m. near a parking lot on the east side of 24th Street between Grant Street and Willis Avenue. According to video surveillance from two neighboring businesses, people in a crowd of more than 100 began to flee and duck for cover when they realized shots were being fired from at least two people in an alleyway on the west side of 24th Street, Preston said. Those people have not been identified, Preston said.
Investigators later learned that Giles was at the party and caught on the surveillance videos about 3:04 a.m., wearing a white T-shirt, ripped jeans, a red hat and white tennis shoes. Three times, Giles was shown raising his T-shirt, exposing a handgun tucked into his waistband, Preston said.
As people began to run and hide from the gunshots, Giles, who was in the southwest corner of the parking lot, appeared composed and walked away after looking north toward where Washington's body laid on the ground.
In addition to 9 mm and .40-caliber shell casings, police found five spent .45-caliber casings, which forensics testing later determined were all fired from the same gun.
On July 20, OPD gang unit officers pulled over Giles, who was a suspended driver driving a Dodge Challenger without a front license plate. After monitoring jail calls, officers learned that he also drove a 2000 Honda Accord that was registered to his mother. A .45-caliber Glock 21 handgun was found in the back pocket of the front passenger seat.
Ballistics tests confirmed that the five shell casings and projectile found in Washington's body were fired from that gun. The gun was swabbed for DNA, and Giles was found to be a major contributor to the DNA on the gun and magazine, Preston testified.
Police also checked Giles' cellphone, which Preston said showed GPS data connected him to the area at the time of the shooting and two videos taken before the shooting occurred — one hours before and one minutes before.
The first video was recorded about 10 p.m. July 3 by Giles, wearing the same clothes he was wearing in the businesses' security videos and showing him in possession of a large-caliber Glock-type firearm, Preston said.
The second video was taken about 3:10 a.m. Giles holds his phone selfie-style, recording video of himself and people behind him smiling. They appeared to be having a good time, Preston said, before the shots rang out seven minutes later.
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