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A Little Rock man who is believed to be the first person shot and wounded inside the Power Ultra Lounge in 2017 is also suspected of being involved in an April 27 shooting at the Empire nightclub, in which he and two female bystanders were wounded, a police detective testified Wednesday.

The detective and an FBI agent both testified about situations that a federal prosecutor said showed Marvell Harris, 25, would be a danger to the community if released pending trial on gun and marijuana charges handed up last week by a federal grand jury. U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Ray ultimately agreed, and ordered Harris jailed until his charges are resolved.

Ray cited Harris' suspected involvement in both Little Rock nightclub shootings, his recent possession of a machine gun-style pistol and a January 2018 effort to flee from a state trooper, which led to a car chase of speeds up to 80 mph through residential neighborhoods, which the judge watched on dashboard-camera video.

Early July 1, 2017, Little Rock made national news after numerous shots were fired inside the now-defunct Power Ultra Lounge during a late-night rap concert. The gunfire injured 25 people, and three others were injured while attempting to escape the second-story downtown club. No one was killed.

Tyler Clay Jackson, who is accused of firing the first shot, has said he fired at Harris, a rival gang member who is known as "Mook," because Harris "flashed" a gun that he pulled out of his waistband, detective Troy Dillard testified Wednesday.

Dillard, who is the lead detective in the still-open case, said several witnesses in the nightclub, which was packed with 200 to 300 people, reported seeing Harris run from the club with a gun whose slide was locked back as if it had been fired, but Harris hasn't been charged in the shooting. He said Harris was shot in the arm, but declined to give a statement when interviewed later at a local hospital.

Jackson is awaiting trial on aggravated assault and second-degree battery charges in Pulaski County Circuit Court.

Dillard also testified that in a shooting about three weeks ago inside another late-night venue, the Empire nightclub at 3315 W. Roosevelt Road, witnesses said Harris and "another individual" got into a fight, and the unidentified person then shot Harris, in the process accidentally shooting two bystanders. Police have said a 25-year-old woman was shot in the upper thigh by a bullet that fractured her pelvis, while the other victim was a 24-year-old woman from Marion who was shot in the foot.

Harris was shot in the abdomen during the shooting early April 27, but the injury wasn't life-threatening, police have said.

Dillard testified that Harris was seen getting into an orange vehicle outside the Empire venue and was dropped off at Arkansas Children's Hospital.

However, it was another incident, on April 3, that led to the federal indictment that was handed up May 8 and unsealed Monday.

Harris and Shaquon Fletcher, 22, are charged with being felons in possession of up to four firearms. They are also charged alongside Bilayrah Mohammed, 24, with possessing with the intent to distribute marijuana, and possessing one or more of the guns in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.

Also charged is Darryl McFadden, 29, who faces a single count of possessing a defaced firearm, and Victor Thompson, 31, who is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute it and possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.

Harris is a nephew of Darren McFadden, a former Arkansas Razorbacks standout who in 2017 ended his 10-year NFL career after three seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. Mohammed and Darryl McFadden are the former football star's sister and brother.

Special Agent Josh Hubbard of the FBI testified that the arrests of the five occurred after police received a report about 2 p.m. April 3 of several men walking up West 24th Street "in broad daylight" carrying long guns.

Hubbard said he drove his black unmarked SUV with tinted windows up the street to investigate and saw Harris and another man standing on the far side of a blue Dodge Challenger parked in a driveway between the homes at 1606 W. 24th St. and 1616 W. 24th St.

The latter address is that of McFadden's mother, Mini Mohammed, who Hubbard said is Harris' grandmother. The other house is occupied by Darryl McFadden, 29, and his wife, Bianca McFadden.

Hubbard said he requested more officers and then turned around and drove back toward the houses, where there were now four men, two with guns. He said Thompson, 31, had a black pistol, and Harris had a gun that was later identified as a Micro Draco, a machine gun-style pistol.

Hubbard said Thompson appeared to be trying to decide whether to shoot at him or run, and, "I hit my siren to let them know I was law enforcement," and opened the driver's door of his vehicle.

He said Thompson then ran into the house with the gun and, as the agent exited his vehicle, Darryl McFadden "approached me very quickly and said, 'All the guns are mine,'" then dropped to the ground with the other three people as Hubbard's partner pulled up behind him.

Darryl McFadden doesn't have a criminal record and can legally own guns, Hubbard noted. He said that Bilayrah Mohammed was inside the Challenger, where officers found a Glock 9mm pistol and a Springfield 9mm pistol, each next to 30-round magazines that appeared to be fully loaded. In the back seat, he said, was a black bag containing another Draco and another loaded magazine, as well as some marijuana.

Hubbard testified that police used a bullhorn to get Thompson to step back out of Darryl McFadden's house. Later, during a search, he said officers found the Draco stashed in a laundry basket in the kitchen -- as well as nine other guns elsewhere inside the house, for a total of 14 guns.

All the guns were test-fired at the state Crime Laboratory, and some of the shell casings were matched to casings that had been recovered at the scene of two recent shootings in the area, the agent said.

He said casings fired by the Springfield 9mm matched at least some of the 14 spent casings found March 3 in front of the house at 4502 W. 21st St., after the Little Rock Police Department's "Spot Shotter" detected gunfire and a woman told officers a bullet had gone through the west side of her house.

Casings test-fired by the .40-caliber Glock found in the Challenger matched casings found March 30 near 36th and High streets by someone whose vehicle had a bullet hole in the rear bumper after being chased by an older model truck, he said.

The FBI agent testified that Thompson later told him that just before the agent drove up 24th Street in his unmarked black vehicle, Thompson received a call from someone saying there had just been a drive-by shooting on Schiller Street by someone in a dark SUV.

"He said if I had been a black guy jumping out of my car, he would have shot, but because I was white, he knew I was the police," Hubbard testified.

Harris' mother, Regina Johns, offered to be a third-party custodian to whom Harris could be released on electronic monitoring. She said he has an associate degree, was on the dean's list in college, and is "a good child" who has a 6-year-old daughter who "loves him to death."

Defense attorney Joe Childers asked that Harris be allowed to remain free while awaiting trial, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Benecia Moore countered that Harris was too dangerous to go free.

Citing the testimony, in particular about how Harris and his companions "were prepared to go to war" in a residential neighborhood before they realized the suspicious vehicle belonged to the FBI, Ray said, "That is utterly reckless behavior."

Metro on 05/16/2019

Print Headline: U.S. judge denies release in guns case

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