PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — An investigation that had been going on since 2014 into gang activity in Pittsburgh’s southern neighborhoods has resulted in multiple grand jury indictments and nine arrests, including the arrests of four people who are charged in the 2014 murder of Omar Hodges, a City of Pittsburgh refuse worker.
The arrests clear multiple cases and dismantle the leadership of organized crime groups that waged a violent war on the streets of Pittsburgh in October 2014.
There were four events connected in this case: October 11, 2014 — three people were shot and wounded on the 3100 block of Cordell Place; October 12, 2014 — one man was shot on the 3000 block of Arlington Avenue; October 13, 2014 — Omar Hodges, 29, was fatally shot while sitting in his car on the 1300 block of Birmingham Avenue shortly before beginning his shift as a refuse collector; and October 20, 2014 — a male was kidnapped and tortured.
“The amount of violence that occurred in about a 2-3 day period right during the time Mr. Hodges was killed and then to find out that that individual wasn’t the intended target of that is kind of unsettling, that this guy was just working hard and trying to get a ride to work in the morning, said Detective Joseph Fabus, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police.
The investigations connects additions crimes to these groups including a December 2014 shooting of a man on Allen Street.
Police investigated the events and violence from the start and then determined that federal investigators were conducting a drug trafficking investigation of these groups.
The Pittsburgh Violent Crimes Detectives, including Joseph Fabus, Garrett Spory and Edward Fallert, as well as Narcotics Detective Eric Harpster took over the investigation.
They connected the shootings and kidnapping to the federal drug investigation and obtained new evidence and witnesses. In 2018, a grand jury convened. The grand jury was mean to include the assurance of the protection of key witnesses from retaliatory violence.
In January 2019, the grand jury returned indictments on nine people in connection to the violence from October 2014 and all nine have since been arrested.
Gemere Bey, 29, of Beltzhoover, is charged with aggravated assault, kidnapping, burglary, terroristic threats and recklessly endangering another person.
Christopher Bradley-Bey, 25, of Beltzhoover is charged with aggravated assault, kidnapping, burglary, terroristic threats and recklessly endangering another person.
Holman Brown, 27, of Beltzhoover is charged with homicide, criminal conspiracy, aggravated assault, kidnapping, burglary, carrying a firearm without a license, terroristic threats and reckless endangerment of another person.
Christopher Brown, 26, of Beltzhoover is charged with homicide, aggravated assault and criminal conspiracy.
Corey Cheatom, 27, of Beltzhoover is charged with homicide, attempted homicide, aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy, tampering with evidence and other charges.
Sheraun Davis, 35, of McKees Rocks is charged with attempted homicide, criminal conspiracy and aggravated assault.
Shakeem Davis, 28, of McKees Rocks is charged with attempted homicide, criminal conspiracy and aggravated assault.
Cody Duncan, 27, of Beltzhoover is charged with aggravated assault and criminal conspiracy.
Lance Gardenhire, 43, of Beltzhoover is charged with homicide, aggravated assault and solicitation.
Detectives in the case relied on video, ballistic evidence, cell phone analysis and social media as part of the investigation. They also used multiple witness statements obtained by detectives in locations across the country.
The investigation revealed that two violent groups, “Zhoove” from Beltzhoover and “Darccide” from St. Clair Village were engaged in an all-out turf war that included bounties of up to $20,000 being placed on the heads of rival gang leaders.
Hodges was a victim of this battle.
He was not gang-affiliated and was killed while sitting in his car waiting to go to work and his vehicle was mistaken for the car of one of the high-ranking gang leaders.
“It is a shame that that particular gentleman had to die and he did die because he was driving the same type of car and make and model and color of one of the intended targets of these two rival gangs,” said Stephen Zappala, District Attorney of Allegheny County.
Four of the suspects arrested face homicide charges related to Hodges’ death.
The Pittsburgh Police also received help from The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the United States Attoney’s Office and the Allegheny County Crime Lab.
“I’m just thrilled,” said Anthony Coghill, District 4 Councilman. “I’m thrilled that they didn’t give up on this case. I’m thrilled that they have a conviction now.”
Now, Councilman Anthony Coghill said Brookline, Beechview, Overbrook and especially Carrick, will be better off.
Fabus was happy that they were able to keep the family up-to-date.
“Luckily as things became unsealed we would tell them, but we’d keep telling them ‘we’re really working at this-we got it, we’re going to get there’ and they were very patient and very supportive and were just fantastic throughout the thing,” said Detective Fabus.