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With 'heavy heart,' judge orders adult trial for teen

by John Lynch | February 12, 2021 at 6:52 a.m.

LITTLE ROCK -- Suspected gang member and accused triggerman Brian Edward Shields will face trial as an adult, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Cathi Compton has ruled "with a very heavy heart."

The 18-year-old Little Rock man had asked the judge to transfer his charges to juvenile court with an extended juvenile justice designation that would give him an opportunity at rehabilitation with the possibility that he could be sent to prison if he is not found to be redeemed by the time he turns 21.

Shields faces charges of first-degree battery, committing terroristic acts and aggravated assault stemming from arrests in June when he was 17.

Prosecutors argued there was little the juvenile justice system could offer Shields and that he has already shown he is not amenable to changing his ways. Compton agreed with them in a ruling Wednesday, stating that she will not give up jurisdiction of the proceedings "for the protection of society" and Shields himself.

"I do so with a very heavy heart," she wrote.

Shields is accused of shooting two women in June in an ambush outside a Wright Avenue liquor store that investigators believe was an attack on a man with them, also a suspected gang member, in what police said was part of some kind of feud between factions of the Bloods street gang. The man's 3-year-old daughter was with them when the women were shot.

In a separate incident, Shields is accused of threatening residents of a southwest Little Rock house with a gun shortly before a November 2019 drive-by shooting at the South Schiller Street home of Gralon McFadden, the father of Darren McFadden, a former All-American running back and retired Dallas Cowboy and Oakland Raider. The people at the house had left before the gunfire so no one was injured.

Shields, who is in jail awaiting trial, was already under juvenile supervision on a misdemeanor gun charge when he was arrested.

He's successfully completed a juvenile boot camp program, which his lawyers said showed him to be a good candidate for rehabilitation. The lawyers disputed the gang accusations, stating that police had mistaken his involvement in the local rap music scene for gang involvement.

Supported by testimony from Shields' mother, they argued he'd been traumatized by the sudden death of his father, who was killed in an unsolved drive-by shooting when he was 12, and never recovered. The shock of the loss led him to make bad choices and associate with corrupting elements who led him astray, they said.

Compton noted that the juvenile system had missed opportunities to help Shields and stated that she found the teen's situation frustrating, disturbing and concerning but she wanted to keep jurisdiction.

"I am deeply concerned that he may have fallen through the cracks in the juvenile system," Compton wrote.

"While the Department of Youth Services ... has some programs available to help Defendant, I feel frustrated by my inability to control which services those would be. I would like to see the Defendant get the psycho-social assessment he clearly needs. The loss of his father in 2015 had to have been singularly traumatic, and any of us would need help after such an event. I would very much like to see the Defendant involved in a gun safety and prevention program," she wrote in her orders. "But, if I were to transfer him to Extended Juvenile Jurisdiction, I would lose jurisdiction, and thus all ability to see to it that he got the assistance he needs. I find this very disturbing."

Authorities said Shields had been recorded in June discussing an ongoing feud he had with another suspected gang member, 21-year-old Daishun Allen of Little Rock. Eight days later, Allen was shot to death in the 1600 block of John Barrow Road. Allen had survived another shooting earlier that month that killed a man who was with him, 20-year-old Nicholas Daniel Jones. No one has been arrested for those killings.

Allen had been awaiting trial on charges of committing a terroristic act and unlawful discharge of a firearm over accusations that he had shot Adrian Bazzelle, 18, a friend of Shields' whom police have labeled a gang member, during a July 2019 drive-by shooting on Malloy Street that also targeted Shields and Cortez Westbrook, 29, court filings show.

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