[Baltimore Sun] Fourth of five charged in Brooklyn Homes mass shooting has pleaded guilty

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Another of the five teens charged in connection to the mass shooting at the Brooklyn Homes public housing community last summer has pleaded guilty.

Aaron Brown, 19, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder in the July 2 shooting that left two dead and 28 others, including Brown, wounded from gunfire. He’s the fourth to plead guilty, the other three are minors.

Brown had been charged with seven counts each of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder, along with firearms offenses and inciting a riot.

As part of the plea, prosecutors agreed to a sentence of 60 years in prison with all but 12 years suspended. Baltimore Circuit Judge Jeffrey M. Geller abided by the agreed upon punishment for Brown.

Brown also pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree murder in a separate shooting case at the same hastily scheduled hearing earlier this month where he admitted to his role in the Brooklyn case.

His punishment in the attempted murder case is identical to that in the Brooklyn shooting case and Geller ordered that sentences run concurrently, or at the same time, court records show.

People convicted of crimes of violence in Maryland become eligible for parole after serving 50% of their punishment. In Brown’s case, that would be six years.

Defense attorney Roya Hanna said Geller recommended Brown to a program focused on rehabilitating young people convicted of crimes, at the Patuxent Institution, a maximum security prison. Hanna declined to comment further.

Tristan Jackson, Brown’s co-defendant, is the only person charged in the case who has not yet pleaded guilty. Jackson, 19, is due in court June 7 for a motions hearing. Prosecutors previously said they’d extended plea offers to everyone in the case, including Jackson.

Four days before Brown’s plea, three younger teenagers charged in the case admitted to varying roles in the mass shooting case.

Prosecutors wrote in court papers that Jackson, Brown and two of the minors charged arrived together at the annual “Brooklyn Day” celebration, in a silver sedan. Detectives reviewing security camera footage from the public housing community identified Jackson, Brown and the two minors by their distinctive clothing, and were able to watch their movements that night.

What began as an annual block party turned to chaos and tragedy when gunfire erupted after midnight. Police collected ballistics evidence suggesting at least 12 guns were fired. Nobody has been arrested yet for the fatal shootings of 18-year-old Aaliyah Gonzalez and 20-year-old Kylis Fagbemi.

An “initial shooting” around 12:30 a.m. in a central stair area of the housing community spawned further gunfire, according to prosecutors’ filing.

Prosecutors said 19 spent cartridge casings picked up from the “stair area” were likely fired by guns recovered from Brown and the two minors who came with him. Video appeared to show Jackson firing a gun, their filing said.

Police arrested Brown about a month after the shooting at the Brooklyn Homes on a warrant for attempted murder charges stemming from the separate shooting on May 19. According to charging documents and prosecutors’ filing, Brown allegedly waived his Miranda rights and told detectives he participated in the Brooklyn shooting, and that he was shot in the hand.

“He admitted to firing a handgun into the roadway at approximately three individuals who were standing in the parking lot shooting at him,” prosecutors wrote. “Aaron Brown stated that he was shot in the hand while firing his weapon. Video shows that after suffering a gunshot wound to his hand, Aaron Brown fled towards 8th Street and Stoll St. … where Tristan Jackson fires the handgun numerous times.”

Jackson is represented by the Office of the Public Defender, which has declined to comment on his case.

Police searched Brown’s home after they arrested him and found a Glock 17 9×19 handgun loaded with an extended magazine, according to prosecutors’ filing. That gun, prosecutors wrote, was “consistent with” having fired casings recovered from two locations in the public housing community and with casings collected as evidence in the May 19 shooting.

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