Iowa City police have arrested two men who allegedly took shots at each other Wednesday night at the Pheasant Ridge Apartments.
And police believe one of the men — 18-year-old Maqueese L. Hampton — could be responsible for a shooting at the apartment complex earlier this year.
“He kind of was the bully of the neighborhood,” Lt. Mike Brotherton said Thursday.
Multiple officers responded to the west side neighborhood at 7:25 p.m. Wednesday after receiving reports of multiple shots being fired in the area of the apartments, located around the 2600 block of Roberts Road. Witnesses told police they saw three black men run from the area immediately after the shots were fired.
Officers — including five K9 teams — flooded the area to look for suspects and evidence. Police learned there were at least two separate shooters and were given the suspects’ descriptions. No injuries were reported in the shooting, but one building was hit, police said.
Within minutes, police said they encountered two men matching the suspects’ descriptions near Mormon Trek Boulevard and Westwinds Drive, which is close to where the shooting occurred. Those two men were identified as Hampton, a Pheasant Ridge resident; and 19-year-old O’Sean D. Horton, of Coralville.
According to criminal complaints, one witness identified Hampton by name as one of the shooters. Police said the witness could place Hampton on a patio outside of 2650 Roberts Road before the shooting. The witness told police Hampton fired a gun at him and his friends as they walked by.
Police said Hampton denied shooting a gun, but admitted to being outside the building near where the shooting occurred.
Another witness provided a description that matched Horton’s. The witness said Horton pulled out a gun and fired at Hampton.
“They were shooting at each other,” the witness told police, according to a criminal complaint.
Police said Horton denied being involved in the shooting, but also provided police with “inconsistent statements.”
Brotherton said the shooting seems to have stemmed over an argument concerning a girl.
“There was a bad relationship and they’re on the outs,” he said. “One of these guys disrespected the girl.”
The argument escalated and both men pulled guns at shot at each other, Brotherton said. No weapon has been recovered.
Wednesday night’s incident marks the third shooting in that neighborhood this year. A March 7 shooting left a Cedar Rapids teenager paralyzed from the knees down. Police have arrested two Cedar Rapids men in connection with that case and are seeking a Cedar Rapids man and an Iowa City man who are believed to have fled the area.
No one was hurt during an April 20 shooting where multiple shots were fired at the complex. Brotherton said police believe Hampton was part of that shooting, as well as other issues at the complex.
“I think we finally got the person who is responsible for a majority of the problems out there,” he said. “As long as we can hold him. I think things will settle down ... He’s the one that’s been causing a lot of the problems.”
Both men were arrested and face one count of going armed with intent, a Class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Hampton faces two additional charges. Police said when they arrested him, they found a small bag of marijuana in his front left pocket along with a large sum of cash that Hampton could not explain. After Hampton was taken to the Johnson County Jail, another bag of marijuana was found hidden in his body. For those two offenses, he faces charges of possession of a controlled substance, a serious misdemeanor; and possessing contraband, a Class D felony.
Police said the shooting remains under investigation and additional charges are possible.
Brotherton said he is hopeful that with Hampton in jail, more people will come forward with information on the previous shooting incidents at the complex and allow investigators to build a case against Hampton and anyone else involved. He praised local residents who gave officers information Wednesday night.
“It made all the difference,” he said.
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