An August shooting on Interstate 40 that killed one man and injured two others was a botched assassination attempt by an admitted gang member motivated by revenge for an April murder at a Little Rock carnival, a State Police investigator testified Thursday.
Out of 21 shots fired, 17 struck a red Ford Mustang on the highway, killing backseat passenger Kindylen Shakur Roberts, 21, of Marion and slightly injuring front-seat passenger Freangelo Dosty, 23, of Forrest City but sparing driver Quinn Scott Lockhart, Sgt. Ryan Jacks told Pulaski County Circuit Judge Barry Sims at a bond hearing for capital-murder defendant Justin Cantrell Mays of Conway. Jackson said the Mustang was raked by gunfire from the rear taillight to the engine compartment.
The bullets came from a blue Dodge Charger that the 24-year-old Mays was riding in, Jacks said, with the remaining four bullets piercing the roof of the Charger to strike backseat passenger Calvin Deshawn Howard in the head.
Jacks, a State Police special agent, said his investigation has determined that Lockhart, the Mustang driver, was the true target and attacked out of a belief that Lockhart was somehow involved in the April slaying of 22-year-old Deante Deshawn Smith of Forrest City at a carnival at the Outlets of Little Rock.
Authorities say Smith was shot in the back of the head by Keaton Jamal McGee, 17, of Alexander, who is charged with capital murder in the case.
At the urging of senior deputy prosecutor Jeanna Sherrill, Sims ordered Mays held without bail until trial, which has yet to be scheduled. Mays, who did not testify, is also charged with first-degree battery, felon in possession of a firearm and two counts of committing a terroristic act. Prosecutors seek a life sentence.
Jacks said troopers discovered the shot-up Mustang while investigating driver complaints about a man hanging out of a car shooting at a second vehicle on the interstate near the Morgan/Maumelle exit.
As investigators were examining the Mustang, they got word the Charger had arrived at a Conway hospital and delivered the seriously injured Howard to the emergency room, Jacks testified. Mays, who was with Howard at the hospital, was arrested and later submitted to questioning before he was placed in the Pulaski County jail.
Mays claimed to be a member of the Gangster Disciples but denied firing a gun, Jacks testified. However, Mays admitted that he had been the Charger's front-seat passenger and one of three men in the car, Jacks told the judge. The agent further said his examination of the Charger showed the the bullets fired through the roof of the vehicle that struck Howard could have only come from a gunman in that front seat.
Jacks said the men in both cars all know each other and all live around Forrest City, however, none of the Mustang survivors could identify Mays as the shooter. Police have never found the gun used to kill Roberts.
Court records show Mays has been on probation out of Faulkner County since April 2021 when he pleaded guilty to felony theft by receiving for a July 2020 arrest in Conway with a stolen rifle.