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Testimony by a Pulaski County sheriff's investigator this week in federal court identified several people involved in the mass shooting at the Power Ultra Lounge last year, including the "rival gang member" targeted by the 19-year-old man accused of firing the first shot at the Little Rock nightclub.

The testimony, which occurred at a federal detention hearing Tuesday, also provided brief insight into the gang conflict that preceded the July 1 gunfire at the crowded downtown nightclub, which left 25 people shot and three others injured while trying to flee the scene.

"The incident leading up to [the shooting] was basically a gang argument over someone disrespecting a gang member that had been recently deceased," said investigator Chris Schmeckenbecher. A sergeant in the sheriff's office, he said he is assigned to the FBI gang task force, a law enforcement group that formed after the nightclub shooting.

The testimony revealed that Tyler Clay Jackson, who was said by police to have fired the first shot in the incident, told authorities that Kenwan "Booman" Sherrod, Machita Decosta "Frog" Mitchell Jr., and another person all went to the club together.

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Photos by Brandon Riddle

An affidavit from Little Rock police show that Jackson, who faces charges in the shooting, told authorities he went to the Power Ultra Lounge with a friend he knows as "Frog," among other people. Jackson said he, Frog, Booman and another person all had guns inside the nightclub, according to the court documents.

Sherrod and Mitchell have not been charged in the nightclub shooting. However, both do face multiple federal charges, including drug and gun charges, online court records show.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Joe Volpe on Tuesday found that Sherrod is a danger to the community and ruled that he remain in custody, federal court documents show.

A Little Rock police report obtained Tuesday said an investigation found 13 guns were fired inside the venue. Last month, the U.S. attorney's office in Little Rock said the mass shooting was precipitated by a rivalry between the Bloods-affiliated Real Hustlers Incorporated and the Wolfe Street Crips.

Victims of Little Rock mass shooting

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At Tuesday's hearing, Schmeckenbecher testified that authorities were told that Mitchell gave a 10mm pistol to Jackson before the shooting.

Schmeckenbecher testified that a gang argument led up to the gunfire.

"'Chi' is a street name for a rival gang member," Schmeckenbecher said in court. "They were talking about [Jackson's] dead brother, and they said that Booman, or Mr. Sherrod, started throwing up gang signs, which we assume would be Crip gang signs."

He testified that Sherrod "ran up on" Jackson.

According to the testimony, Sherrod, Mitchell and another person pressured Jackson to shoot at a person known as "Mook." Schmeckenbecher identified "Mook" as 24-year-old Marvell Harris and described him as a "rival gang member."

Harris was wounded in the shooting.

"During all this apparently, according to Mr. Jackson, Mr. Sherrod pulls out his [gun] and tried to shoot but it did jam on him and he couldn't get a shot off," the investigator said.

Sometime during the incident, Jackson lost the 10mm pistol in the club, the lawman said.

After that, a man known as L.A. Moe found the gun and secured it "to keep it from being taken by Little Rock police," Schmeckenbecher testified.

In court, Schmeckenbecher said L.A. Moe was a "bouncer or head of security" and was featured in the 1994 HBO documentary Gang War: Bangin' In Little Rock, which detailed the impact of gang violence in Little Rock.

"He's a known OG Crip" Schmeckenbecher said of L.A. Moe. The HBO documentary said he was credited with bringing the Crips to Little Rock.

Jackson told authorities he gave Sherrod $100 to get the pistol back from L.A. Moe, with the intent of having Sherrod return the firearm to Mitchell, Schmeckenbecher said in court. He said the information was brought up in an interview with Jackson.

Schmeckenbecher did not say whether the Sherrod got the pistol back from L.A. Moe.

Metro on 03/08/2018

Print Headline: Motive hinted in July shootout at LR nightclub; testimony cites gang dispute

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