6 plead guilty in Canton gang-related shooting
CANTON — Six men have pleaded guilty in a gang-related shooting here.
District Attorney Bubba Bramlett announced that the men, Joseph Warren Jr., 27, Cortez Robinson, 17, Cordarious Johnson, 16, LeChristopher Smith, 19, Teravium Davis, 32, and Ahkeem Lewis, 18, all of Canton pleaded guilty to various charges stemming from an ambush style shooting last year.
On February 12, 2022, officers from the Canton Police Department were dispatched to reports of multiple shots fired on North West Street. Upon arrival, officers found a man who had been shot and a vehicle that had received extensive damage due to multiple gun shots into the car.
Video from a nearby gas station showed four cars pull into the parking lot minutes before the shooting. The victim arrived shortly thereafter, and the men ran toward his car holding what appeared to be guns. The victim sped out of the gas station and the individuals raced back to their cars and followed him.
Video obtained from nearby homes showed the same four vehicles surrounding the victim’s car and at least two shooters firing rounds into the car in a close-range assault minutes after they all left the gas station.
Investigators suspected this to be a gang related, retaliatory shooting.
Police began canvassing the social media accounts of several individuals. They discovered a music video that was produced hours before the shooting with the men all participating and wearing the same clothing that can be seen in the surveillance footage from the gas station.
Officers also uncovered a photograph of the men standing around the grave of Jaihlen Sims, a young man who had been murdered four months prior during a drive-by shooting. That shooting was also suspected to be gang related.
All six individuals pleaded guilty to their involvement in the shooting. Joseph Warren, Jr. pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, shooting into a vehicle, conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and being a felon in possession of a weapon.
He was sentenced to serve a total of 29 years in the custody of the
Mississippi Department of Corrections. He had previously been convicted of accessory after the fact to armed robbery in Hinds County.
Cortez Robinson, Cordarious Johnson, and LeChristopher Smith each pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, shooting into a vehicle, and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault. They were each sentenced to serve 25 years in prison.
Terevium Davis pleaded to a single count of aggravated assault and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Ahkeem Lewis was sentenced to five years for a count of conspiracy.
During the sentencing hearing, Judge Dewey Arthur noted that the video in this case showed a “military type assault on the victim’s vehicle.” He further noted that during all his years as a prosecutor and judge, he had not seen such a chilling video and that all of the men were lucky they were not looking at murder charges.
District Attorney Bubba Bramlett said, “These six convictions, and the substantial sentences, are the culmination of countless hours of dedicated service by our members of law enforcement and the District Attorney’s Office.
“We want to thank the law-abiding citizens of Canton, who have had enough of this mess, for their increasing support, cooperation, and jury service. Further, we appreciate the businesses of Canton, who have also had enough of this mess, and are now taking a more active role in curbing crime through their cooperation, installation of surveillance cameras and other pro-law enforcement measures.”