An admitted Connecticut gang member pleaded guilty Friday to playing a role in a shooting outside the front steps of a state courthouse. Federal prosecutors say Laheem “Heemie” Jones, 27, of Bridgeport admitted to racketeering and attempted murder in connection with a series of shootings, including one that happened in Jan. 2000 in front of Bridgeport Superior Court on Golden Hill Street.
Jones pleaded guilty after one day of jury selection in what was expected to be a criminal trial connected to the courthouse shooting and the other incidents, prosecutors said. He “is the last of eight defendants charged in this conspiracy to plead guilty,” they noted.
Another of the defendants, Destine Calderon, 26, pleaded guilty in early October, Law&Crime previously reported.
Nearly two dozen rounds were fired into a vehicle outside the courthouse; several of the people who were fired upon fled into the guarded judicial building for help.
Prosecutors recalled the chaotic events while announcing Jones’ plea. Bridgeport Police rushed to the scene after a Shot Spotter activation detected gunfire near the courthouse. A federal court document obtained by Law&Crime detailed what happened next:
On January 27, 2020, at approximately 12:10 p.m., video footage, obtained from inside and outside the state courthouse, shows Jaheim Warren and Trevon Wright, both East End gang members, exit the courthouse and walk to a waiting black 2000 Chevrolet Impala, which was being driven by Khalil Heard with Jaffar Ali in the front passenger seat.
Just as Warren and Wright entered the vehicle, the video captures a gray Subaru Forester pulling up to the victims’ car, facing in the opposite direction. Surveillance video shows flashes from multiple firearms being fired from inside the Subaru. Khalil Heard sustained gunshot wounds to his back, shoulder and wrist; Jaffar Ali was grazed in the head and shot in the left thumb; and Jaheim Warren was grazed in the ribs. All three of these victims managed to make their way into the courthouse where they were attended to by judicial marshals until the arrival of EMTs and Bridgeport police officers.
Trevon Wright, who was shot in the side of his chest, fell to the ground outside of the Impala and was unable to move, as he was (and remains) paralyzed from the gun shots he suffered. The vehicle in which the victims had been sitting sustained approximately 23 entry bullet holes in the driver’s side and windshield area. Eighteen spent shell casings from two separate firearms (a 9-millimeter and .40 caliber firearm) were located at the crime scene.
The court document continued to describe the immediate rescue attempts mounted by nearby Connecticut judicial marshals — the law enforcement officers tasked with guarding courthouses in the Nutmeg State:
Judicial Marshal Loral Quinones was staffing the front door to the courthouse, screening visitors through a metal detector when she saw the shooting take place. Despite the fact that she was unarmed, she ran to the doors to pull the four to five frozen onlookers who were outside to safety inside the courthouse. Khalil Heard ran from the Impala and stumbled into the courthouse, gravely wounded, and Quinones is expected to testify that Heard said that he could not breathe. Judicial Marshal Joshua DeLeon, who had prior medical training, saw blood oozing from Heard’s chest and rushed to his side, using a rubber glove to plug the hole in Heard’s chest to prevent a collapsed lung. As he did so, he is expected to testify that he heard Heard say, “let me call my sister, I am going to die.”
Meanwhile, Warren lay paralyzed next to the Impala when unarmed Judicial Marshal Adrianna Velez spotted him and ran to his aid; Judicial Marshal Kimberly Miller also approached Wright and rendered aid to him. Judicial Marshal Velez is expected to testify that Wright told her that it “feels like I’m going to die,” and “call my Mom and tell her I love her.” Judicial Marshal Miller is expected to testify that in addition to Wright asking Marshals to call his mother, he also asked her to hold his hand “before something else happens to me.”
After the harrowing incident at the courthouse, “Jones and others attempted to destroy a vehicle used during the shooting by setting i[t] on fire in Naugatuck after the shooting,” federal prosecutors wrote in a press release that announced the guilty plea. “Jones also appears in YouTube videos and in social media posts, where firearms are present, promoting [a] gang.”
“According to court documents and statements made in court, the FBI, ATF, DEA, U.S. Marshals Service and Bridgeport Police have been investigating multiple Bridgeport-based gangs whose members are involved in narcotics trafficking, murder and other acts of violence,” the U.S. Department of Justice continued. “Jones has been a member of the “Greene Homes Boyz” (“GHB/Hotz”), a gang based in the Charles F. Greene Homes Housing Complex in Bridgeport’s North End, whose members and associates distributed heroin, crack cocaine, marijuana and Percocet pills; committed numerous acts of violence against rival gang members and other individuals[;] and celebrated their criminal conduct on social media websites such as Facebook and YouTube.”
“GHB/Hotz members and associates also committed acts of intimidation and made threats to deter potential witnesses to their crimes and to protect gang members and associates from detection and prosecution by law enforcement authorities,” federal authorities wrote. “In pleading guilty, Jones admitted that he was engaged in gang-related drug trafficking, and that he and others attempted to kill members and associates of the East End gang in a brazen afternoon shooting in front of a Bridgeport courthouse on January 27, 2020.”
Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 23, 2022. Jones faces a maximum of 30 years in prison. He’s been incarcerated since Aug. 6, 2020, prosecutors said.
The original indictment and selected portions of the federal court file are below:
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