Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A Tragic Story Gets Weird

On April 14, 2006 a mysterious drive-by shooting at a day care center on NE Bryant left a 4-year-old boy seriously wounded. Two days later the police and the Oregonian were baffled – No Clues, No Suspects in Shooting. This article did have a clue, although it wasn’t recognized at the time.

The day care center was owned and operated by Tracy Crockett. Her son Charles Crockett is well known to the police. Lt. Eric Hendricks of the Portland Police Bureau said, “He isn’t a gang member, but he is known to members of the gang enforcement team.” Last April Charles Crockett was charged with attempted murder in the shooting of Elijah Mandley, 15. The boy was hit in the leg will riding in a car.

Mandley has a weird and tragic story of his own. His father Isaiah Mandley Sr. was arrested for possession of crack cocaine less than a year after the boy was born in 1990. Elijah was 2 when the state took him out of his mother’s home because of her drug abuse. Elijah and his brothers grew up in foster homes.

In February 2004 Elijah and his brother Isaiah Jr., 16, were at a party in Northeast Portland when Isaiah Jr. fired a gun at a passing car, and struck TyNiece “Mia” McCorvey, 14, who was standing near by, in the head. The girl recovered and Isaiah was tried as an adult for attempted murder with a firearm and was sentenced to six years.

After the shooting party guests lied to the police about what happened, but since then it has come out that the car Isaiah Jr. fired at was full of Young Thugs members. Young Thugs is a new gang that is emerging in Northeast Portland.

Elijah Mandley was wounded in April 2005 when Charles Crockett apparently fired a gun into Mandley’s car. Mandley would not cooperate with the police and Crockett was acquitted. Eight months later Elijah was riding in a sport utility vehicle with Crockett when they were pulled over by the police. They were found to be in possession of a loaded handgun and an illegal sawed-off shotgun.

Mandley said the shotgun was his; he had just bought it that day “for protection.” Mandley plead guilty to possession of an illegal weapon in juvenile court and was put on probation. He was also turned over to the custody of his father Isaiah Mandley Sr. Isaiah Mandley Sr. has been on a mission the last few years to get sober and get his sons back. Here is a link to his story in the Oregonian.

On February 14 this year, Elijah Mandley accidentally shot and killed himself while playing with a loaded handgun in the bathroom at his father’s home. Police believe that he had been posing with the gun in front of the mirror when it accidentally discharged.

It was a lucky break for Charles Crockett. With Mandley’s guilty plea and not being available to testify at Crockett’s trial, Multnomah County Judge Frank Bearden had no choice but to acquit Crockett of the weapons charge on February 27. This isn’t the end of Crockett’s legal troubles though; he is still the main suspect in the November 2, 2003 shooting death of Isaiah Strickland outside another Northeast Portland party.

Crockett was arrested a few days after the shooting at his mother’s home on a parole violation. That leads to the strangest new twist in the case. At a court hearing on Crockett’s parole violation this week, Deputy District Attorney Sean Riddell asked the court to keep Crockett’s bail at $100,000 because he represents a “threat to himself and the public.”

"There are people trying to kill Mr. Crockett, and what is very apparent, they're not very good marksmen," Riddell said. Portland Detective Bryan Steed testified investigators learned that Crockett told his uncle by phone that he was out looking for those responsible and "was going to take care of them on his own."

Crockett’s attorney, Spencer Hahn, argued that the prosecutions request was “ludicrous” since the charges against his client are nonviolent drug possession and curfew violations. Hahn claimed that the Portland Police Bureau has a grudge against Crockett and are trying to keep him in jail so they can gather information from him. He also charged Riddell with misconduct for making the request. He downplayed Crockett’s threat to his uncle, saying it was normal for a crime victim to want justice.

"We do not have to leave our common sense at the door," Riddell said. "We all know what Mr. Crockett means when he says 'he's going to take care of them on his own.'"

Judge Linda Bergman said, "I didn't leave my common sense at the door either. I never had a request like this one. I don't think it's misconduct, but I think it's unusual." Bergman said she had serious constitutional issues with the State’s request, calling it a "preventive kind of detention I just can't do."

Crockett was released Tuesday after testifying in the shooting that wounded the 4 year-old. He said he was in the house, but not in “visual range” of the street at the time of the shooting. The boy is stable and recovering and Crockett’s mother lost the license for her day care.

So Charles Crockett is on the street tonight looking for the people who shot at him. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that they were Young Thugs. Too bad they are more dangerous to innocent bystanders than to their targets. I think I will be staying away from parties in Northeast Portland this year.


Post a Comment

<< Home