The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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July 16, 2014

Johnstown police chief: All three suspects in Oakhurst shooting in custody

JOHNSTOWN — Jaquan Watson, the lone remaining wanted man in Sunday’s Oakhurst homicide, turned himself in to city police early Wednesday, walking into Johnstown’s Public Safety Building with family members at his side.

The 19-year-old Johnstown man exited in shackles less than two hours later, accused of being one of three young men who gunned down 42-year-old local police academy student Tyrone Williams early Sunday.

 “All three suspects are now in custody,” Johnstown police Chief Craig Foust said, adding that the trio, now lodged in Cambria County Prison, are the only individuals being sought by investigators in the case.

Escorted by city detectives, Watson exited the Public Safety Building without saying a word, offering no comment when asked about Sunday’s shooting.

Foust said the young man apparently gave no statements to police during his nearly two hours in police custody. The chief declined to comment when asked if alleged accomplices Fidel Cosby, 15, and Richard Cook, 21, have been interviewed by investigators.

“It’s part of our investigation ... and it’s still very early in our investigation,” Foust said.

He said police are continuing to gather and process forensic evidence, written statements and witness accounts to determine who fired shots – and how many – including a fatal one to the chest that claimed Williams.

Lab results on three handguns secured as evidence will also give investigators insight into shots fired at the scene, Foust added.

Cook was taken into custody after police found him in the West End early Tuesday.

Cosby and Watson both turned themselves in within 24 hours of a plea to the public by law enforcement officials, asking anyone who might have information on the case to contact police.

“People stepped up,” Cambria District Attorney Kelly Callihan said, crediting area residents for providing valuable information.

She said investigators were initially concerned after they arrived on the scene of Sunday’s alleged homicide to find a large number of people nearby, yet few willing to talk about what they heard or saw.

It turned out “fear” played a role that night, Callihan said.

Two of the men now charged in the shooting were among the crowd, she added, saying witnesses “were afraid to speak up.”

Cambria Chief Deputy Coroner Jeffrey Lees said Williams was shot multiple times, including a gunshot to the chest that claimed his life.

Police allege the trio fired on Williams, a New Jersey native, around 1:30 a.m. in Oakhurst, after he arrived at their apartment looking for a woman.

Williams was pronounced dead at 3:19 a.m.

Investigators have offered few specifics but say a discussion among members of the group became confrontational. Then shots were fired at Williams as he tried to flee the scene, city police said in a criminal complaint.

Foust said police are glad all three are “off the street” without further incident.

“But it’s only one step in the investigation,” he added.

He said the men likely realized they had nowhere to run.

“It takes a lot of resources and a lot of money to be on the run,” Foust said.

“You have to rely on people taking care of you and so forth. (With) the seriousness of this incident, it’d be hard. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone willing to stick their neck out and protect you.”

David Hurst is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @tddavidhurst.

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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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