TOPEKA (KSNT) – New details have emerged in a murder investigation that left one Topeka man dead in a shooting over a heated fireworks argument.
Newly released court documents in the case against Jahiem Brown contain witness statements from the night of the shooing of Louis Perez Cantrell.
The report begins on the night Cantrell was killed. At 12:50 a.m. on July 5, on the 200 block of Southeast Lawrence in East Topeka, officers responded a report of a shooting. Officers arrived to find Cantrell suffering from multiple gunshot wounds outside his apartment. He later died at an area hospital. An autopsy found he had been shot four times.
One witness told police her family was preparing to go to bed for the night when they heard loud fireworks in the alley outside their apartment. She said a group of young people outside was lighting “very large fireworks” near their vehicle.
The witness told police Cantrell went outside and got into an argument with two of the men. She said one man started to walk away, saying, “People want to stand here and be tough.” Cantrell reportedly replied, “Don’t come at me like that, you don’t know me.”
The man then turned around and walked back towards Cantrell, who was armed with a gun. The witness said Cantrell placed his gun under a car before approaching the man empty handed, saying, “We can do this right.” The witness said the man then pulled a gun from a backpack, fired at Cantrell and ran away. The witness said as she ran to Cantrell, she believed someone was also shooting at her.
A second witness said he was part of a group of teenagers that had been shooting fireworks in the area in the days leading up to the shooting. He said he saw Cantrell, armed with a handgun, leave his apartment and get into an argument with the two men over the fireworks.
The witness said he tried to encourage the men arguing with Cantrell to leave, but they didn’t listen. He said he saw Cantrell put down his gun and try to start a fight with one of the teens. He confirmed the first witness’ report of the teen pulling a gun out of his backpack and shooting Cantrell several times.
Two sets of shell casings were later recovered by TPD at the crime scene. Police believe one set was from the initial round of gunfire directed at Cantrell, while the second set was from shots fired at the female witness.
The shells were entered into the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network for study. They were were found to be potential matches to at least eight other cases associated with a new street gang.
Brown was identified as a suspect by witness’ descriptions and GPS data from his ankle monitor. Detectives also found a photo on Facebook posted seven hours before the shooting that showed Brown wearing the clothes described by witnesses.
As officers attempted to execute a search warrant at his residence, Brown tried to run away. Officers saw him throw the gun before they took him into custody. Testing showed the gun was a potential match for the shells collected from the scene of the shooting. It was later discovered weapon had been stolen from another Topeka residence in February.
Brown remains in jail awaiting trial on the following charges:
- Intentional Second Degree Murder
- Theft of a Firearm
- Criminal Discharge of a Firearm at an Occupied Vehicle
- Criminal Damage to Property
- Criminal Damage to Property
- Aggravated Battery
- Attempted Aggravated Robbery
- Criminal Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon