Police say drug deal led to Braddock Hills killing
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A Braddock Hills man died after he exchanged gunfire with one of three men who attempted to rob him of the marijuana he sold from his grandmother's home, police wrote in court documents.
Brandon Johns, 18, was killed in a stairwell between the first and second floors of the Brinton Manor apartment complex about 4 p.m. Tuesday. Allegheny County police have charged Eugene "Gene" McCarthy, 23, of Clairton with homicide, robbery, tampering with evidence and conspiracy in connection with his death.
Police wrote in a criminal complaint that Mr. McCarthy and two other men drove to the apartment building about 4 p.m. Tuesday to buy marijuana. One of the men said, "It looks like there will be easy licks up here," meaning "it would be easy to rob someone," police wrote in the complaint.
Mr. McCarthy, who was arrested while hiding in a closet in Clairton, told police he and two other men found a group of boys and asked if anyone had marijuana, when Mr. Johns volunteered himself as a dealer.
Mr. McCarthy told detectives Mr. Johns pulled a handgun out of his pocket and Mr. McCarthy tried to move it when a struggle began. He said that Mr. Johns fired the gun and one of his friends -- whom police have declined to identify -- fired, according to the criminal complaint.
Another source -- identified in court paperwork only as "Witness #1" -- told police the armed man with Mr. McCarthy placed a gun along his leg while Mr. Johns was measuring marijuana and said, "You might as well give it all up."
That witness said Mr. Johns told the men to take everything, then pulled out a handgun, struggling with Mr. McCarthy and firing one or two shots before Mr. McCarthy's friend fired three or four. The man with Mr. McCarthy was hit in the stomach.
Mr. McCarthy drove the two men with him to UPMC McKeesport. One stayed with the alleged gunman, whom police said was in critical condition Wednesday and could face charges.
Mr. McCarthy is being held in the Allegheny County Jail without bond. A preliminary hearing is set for next Wednesday.
First Published August 9, 2012 12:00 am