Plans to rob a college student who dealt marijuana from the basement of his parents' Kennedy home turned deadly Monday night when a man shot the 20-year-old and made off with a small amount of the drug, Allegheny County police said.
Jordan Coyner, home for the summer from Slippery Rock University, was struck once in the head. Police said the shooting was touched off when the gunman and four juveniles from Swissvale formed a plan to buy marijuana from Coyner. One of the teenagers knew him because they both grew up in Kennedy, police said.
Detectives on Tuesday charged Devele "Mozzie" Reid, 22, of Hazelwood, with homicide and a firearms offense, saying he was the one who fired the fatal shot. The juveniles were questioned and released. Investigators will confer with the Allegheny County district attorney's office to determine whether they, too, should face charges.
Police said the group set out from Swissvale to Kennedy in a maroon Chevrolet Monte Carlo, which they left idling a short distance from the Coyner home in the well-kept 5000 block of Julia Lane. Mr. Reid and two of the teens got out of the car, but only Mr. Reid, armed with a .40-caliber handgun, entered Coyner's basement bedroom through an open garage door.
"It's our belief he attempted at this time to rob the victim," county police Superintendent Charles Moffatt said. A fight ensued, he said, and Mr. Reid opened fire. "He wasn't going to buy the marijuana. He was going to take it."
Mr. Reid, with a small amount of the drug in a baggie, darted from the house and returned to the Monte Carlo. A witness told police he heard Mr. Reid shout "I had to shoot him" as he ran. Detectives found a discarded cell phone and clothing not far from the scene.
From the house, detectives recovered what they estimated was a pound of marijuana in a Ziploc bag, scales, bongs and more than $3,000 in cash, according to a criminal complaint filed against Mr. Reid. Police didn't know how long Coyner had been dealing drugs or on what scale, but Superintendent Moffatt said, "he was big enough to have people coming to his house" to buy. Coyner's Twitter page makes reference to selling marijuana and rolling joints.
Kennedy police Chief Anthony Bruni said his officers had not had problems at the family home.
Handcuffed and en route to the county jail, Mr. Reid told reporters he was remorseful.
"I never meant for it to go like that," he said. "I was supposed to get a couple of dollars for my family and go from there. ... I did my crime and I've got to do my time and pray for my victims and their families."
The circumstances of Coyner's death mystified many of those who knew him as the friendly former linebacker at Montour High School. He transferred from Ohio University and was studying business administration at Slippery Rock. He worked as an intern at Keystone Dedicated Logistics, the company said.
"He was a hardworking kid, he was dedicated and a pretty good role model for younger kids," said Matt Christiansen, 18, who played football with Coyner in high school and lives down the street. He and his father, Fritz, who saw the suspects dash down the street, said they struggled to reconcile their image of Coyner with the one painted by police.
"It's a very quiet, middle-class neighborhood," the elder Mr. Christiansen said. "For something like this to transpire was definitely not foreseen."