Judge says 2nd suspect to be held in Little Rock guns case

A second man was detained Thursday on charges stemming from a near-shootout April 3 in a Little Rock neighborhood between several men and an FBI agent who was initially mistaken for a drive-by shooter.

The incident that led to the May 8 indictment of five people on federal drug and gun charges occurred on West 24th Street, a residential area southwest of downtown Little Rock, on a Wednesday afternoon.

Last week, U.S. Magistrate Judge Tom Ray ordered one of the five -- Marvell Harris, 25, of 1616 W. 24th St. -- to remain jailed until his trial on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm, possessing a gun in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime and possession with the intent to distribute marijuana. On Thursday, after a detention hearing for another of the defendants -- Victor Thompson, 31 -- Ray again denied a request to be released pending trial.

Thompson is facing the same charges as Harris. In both cases, the judge said prosecutors had proved by clear and convincing evidence that if released, the men posed a danger to the community.

At last week's detention hearing, Special Agent Josh Hubbard of the FBI testified that he drove up 24th Street that day to check out a call about several men walking with long guns.

Hubbard testified that as he drove his black unmarked SUV with tinted windows past a driveway between the houses at 1606 W. 24th St. and 1616 W. 24th St., he saw Harris and another man standing outside the opened passenger-side door of a blue Dodge Challenger parked in the driveway.

He said he requested backup officers and then turned around and drove back to the house, where there were now four men watching him closely, including Harris and Thompson, both carrying guns. Hubbard said Thompson appeared to be trying to decide whether to run or shoot, and, "I hit my siren to let them know I was law enforcement," and opened the driver's-side door of his SUV.

Hubbard said Thompson then ran into the house at 1606 W. 24th St., which is the home of Darryl McFadden, 29, and his wife, Bianca McFadden. Darryl McFadden is the brother of Darren McFadden, a former Arkansas Razorbacks running back who in 2017 ended his 10-year career as a pro football player with the Dallas Cowboys. The house at 1616 W. 24th St. is that of the McFaddens' mother, Mini Mohammed.

The agent said Darryl McFadden, who can legally own a gun, quickly approached and said all the guns were his and then dropped to the ground, along with the others who were outside. He said Thompson eventually came back out of the house after officers urged him out with a bullhorn.

Three guns were found in the car, in which Bilayrah Mohammed, 24, a sister of the McFadden brothers, was sitting, the agent said. He said a search conducted inside the house turned up 10 more guns, including a machine-gun style pistol called a Micro Draco that Thompson was believed to have taken into the house and hidden in a laundry basket. Officers also found several loaded magazines, the agent testified.

Hubbard said Thompson later told him that just before he drove up the street, he had received a call about 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 said.

[RELATED: Click here for interactive map + full coverage of crime in Little Rock]

On Thursday, Ray heard from Grant Humphries, a Little Rock police officer who is part of the FBI gang task force, who reiterated testimony from last week that all the confiscated guns were test-fired at the state Crime Laboratory, and some of those shell casings were matched to casings recovered at the scene of two recent shootings in the area.

One of three shell casings found after a report of a terroristic act near 36th and High streets on March 30, when someone shot into the back of an occupied truck, was matched to a .40-caliber Glock found at the 24th Street house on April 3 that Thompson has identified as his, Humphries testified.

Humphries also shared details of several Little Rock Police Department incident reports involving Thompson. They included a 2012 report about Thompson being seen reaching into his waistband for a handgun outside 2025 W. 14th St., leading to a charge of carrying a stolen handgun.

Humphries also testified about a report from 2015, in which Thompson was accused of pulling a gun on a woman on Cross Street and from 2016, in which he was accused of hitting a woman in the face with a gun on Schiller Street. The detective said there were at least two other reports involving Thompson in which females were listed as victims.

Defense attorney Bobby Digby asked Ray to let Thompson go free, under the supervision of his parents, who testified that they would monitor him. But Ray sided with Assistant U.S. Attorney Benecia Moore, who asked that Thompson be kept behind bars.

Ray said that during the West 24th Street incident, "there was somewhere between 115 and 150 rounds of ammunition, just in the car, ready for four people ... [who are] armed to the teeth and ready to use guns on whoever has a black Suburban."

He noted that "hundreds and hundreds of rounds of ammunition," including armor-piercing varieties, were found inside the house, where long guns could be seen through the windows and other guns were found tucked under pillows, "ready to be grabbed."

Also, he said, "There is strong evidence that, six days before, Mr. Thompson was in a vehicle firing that weapon at another person."

Metro on 05/24/2019