Two charged in Sunday shootings

Published 11:17 am Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A typical Sunday night quickly became very atypical as the Greenville Police Department responded to not one, but two separate, unrelated shootings within 15 minutes of each other.

The first incident claimed the life of 23-year-old Tyler Cook, a black male from Greenville who had just recently graduated from the Second Judicial Circuit’s 12-month drug court program.

“We got the call just before 8 p.m. Sunday night and officers arrived to the report of a gunshot victim,” said Greenville Police Department chief Justin Lovvorn. “And they did locate [Cook] in a vehicle on Bell Lane.  An ambulance was already on the way, and he was transported to the hospital but they pronounced him deceased shortly after they got there.

Derick Powell

Derick Powell

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Evidence gathered at the scene and statements from eyewitnesses led the GPD to two suspects, who had fled toward the Andalusia area after the crime was committed.  With the help of law enforcement in Andalusia, one of the suspects—22-year-old Derick Powell, a black male from Greenville—was apprehended and brought back to the police department in Greenville for questioning.

“Once we got him up here, we interviewed him and confronted him with what we knew thus far, and he did admit to being there at the time of the murder,” Lovvorn added.

“He was charged with murder and also possession of a forged instrument, because we processed his vehicle for evidence in this case and found some counterfeit bills.”

A second suspect has been interviewed but, due to currently processing evidence, the person of interest hasn’t yet been formally charged.

Officers received a second call barely 15 minutes after the first, this time pointing to a gunshot wound nearly two miles away on Flowers Street.

Officers located the gunshot victim at the reported location and he was immediately transported to Montgomery, where he remains in stable condition after undergoing surgery.

GPD officers received a number of phone calls alleging that the suspect, who fled from the scene on foot, might be at a residence on Grayson Street.

Lovvorn said that the department used K-9 units to corroborate that information, and shortly after arriving officers began to set up a perimeter team and evacuate curious civilians from the area.

“Lt. Beck, Lt. Disney, a couple of other officers and myself were in front of the residence trying to get some civilians that had walked down to see what’s going on back out of the area and cleared of any potential danger area,” Lovvorn said.

“We’d just gotten them to a safe distance and by the time were coming back to get ourselves to a safe area to watch the area was when shots were fired at us from the front window of the residence. Luckily, none of the officers were hit and we were still able to get to a point of cover and maintain a perimeter to watch the house.”

Mere moments afterward, more shots rang out inside the home in a scuffle that officers would later learn involved the suspect and another person who tried to make the suspect leave the residence.

“The story that he gave us later was that after the suspect had fired shots at us through the window, he tried to make him leave his house and he didn’t want anything to do with it,” Lovvorn said.

“When the suspect refused, he got in a confrontation with him and they ended up fighting over the gun.  The suspect attempted to shoot him point-blank at first, and then he managed to get another shot off after struggling with him that managed to hit him in the leg.”

Not long afterward, a female and another armed male exited the premises, who were both taken into custody and questioned regarding the events that unfolded inside the house.

Patrick Crenshaw

Patrick Crenshaw

Eventually, the suspect, 31-year-old Patrick Crenshaw, advised officers outside the home that he wanted to turn himself in.

Crenshaw was then apprehended without further incident, but not before being charged with eight counts of attempted murder—one for the Flowers Street shooting, six counts for firing blindly on officers from the house’s window and a final charge for the man who was shot in the leg inside the home.

“I can’t commend the officers who were there enough for their bravery, their strength and their fortitude to be there and do their job and do it the right way, and not back down even when being fired upon,” Lovvorn said. “Being there firsthand and witnessing how well they were doing was really impressive to me.

“We had people running out of the house where we’re getting shot at from, and they followed procedure and identified whether it was a threat and didn’t just open fire because someone was running at them.

“We were able to resolve the situation without deadly force or any serious injury.  I think the officers did extremely well out there and handled the situation with great professionalism.”