Victim dies after overnight grocery store shooting
BAKER - Police released new information about an overnight murder in Baker Tuesday night.
According to Baker Police, officers responded to a shooting near the intersection of West Azalea Avenue and Baker Boulevard around 10 p.m. Tuesday.
At the scene, police say they found 20-year-old Richard Devon Phillips with two gunshot wounds to the chest. He was transported to a local hospital where he later died.
Court documents say that Phillips and a friend, Walter Williams Jr., were walking to the store when a vehicle, occupied by MacArthur Johnson, 19, and Charmaine Wilson, 19, approached them.
Williams said Phillips confronted Johnson who was sitting in the passenger seat of the car. Johnson then opened fire, according to Williams. Phillips and Williams then fled on foot.
Williams told police that he and the victim were not armed, but an eyewitness at the scene said he saw Williams fleeing with a handgun. Williams was later contacted and led police to the location of his hidden handgun.
Williams told investigators that Phillips and his brother were at odds with Johnson over a party advertisement. Johnson confronted Phillips about “potentially violent encounters” involving him and Phillips' brother, but the two men agreed to not resort to shooting over the issue.
Court documents say detectives later found the suspect's vehicle in Baton Rouge and saw damage to the front passenger window. Detectives also interviewed three eyewitnesses that identified Johnson as the shooter. The witnesses also identified Wilson as a passenger in the vehicle.
Eyewitnesses led investigators to the location of a handgun police believe Johnson used in the shooting. The witness also told investigators that Wilson and Johnson formed a plan to say they shot at Phillips in self-defense.
Security footage from the store did not capture the victim in possession of a weapon. Williams said Phillips was unarmed and no other handgun was recovered at the scene.
Baker Police chief Mike Knaps said that police will not release the video of the shooting.
Baker Police says Johnson and Wilson surrendered to police Wednesday. Officers say Wilson initially claimed that he saw Phillips with a handgun but later changed his statement. Johnson admitted to shooting the victim in self-defense, police say.
Police also say video footage from the event did not match Johnson’s statements about how Phillips approached the vehicle.
Baker Police charged Johnson with second-degree murder, illegal use of a weapon, and obstruction of justice. Wilson was charged with accessory after the fact to second-degree murder and obstruction of justice.
Williams was also charged with obstruction of justice.