07/09/08 — Three teens charged in player's shooting

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Three teens charged in player's shooting

By Steve Herring
Published in News on July 9, 2008 1:48 PM

WARSAW -- Three Duplin County teenagers who Warsaw Chief of Police R.P. Wood said were apparently "horsing around" with an AK-47 high-powered rifle have been charged in the shooting death last week of local high school football star Derrick Barden, 18, of Warsaw.

Charged were Joleskie Qwamain Floyd, 17, of 102 Kings Lane, Warsaw, Jordan Allen Guy, 17, of 410 Yancey St., Warsaw, and Ivan Kwame Wallace, 16, of 5113 Cornwallis Road, Turkey.

They were jailed without bond in the Duplin County Jail in Kenansville. A first appearance is scheduled for this afternoon, Duplin County Assistant District Attorney Bob Roupe said.

There, he explained, they will be apprised of the charges against them, and, if necessary, supplied with a court-appointed attorney.

And, he added, while they are not eligible for the death penalty under a recent Supreme Court ruling banning capital punishment for people under 18, "they will be tried as adults."

Wood said the three suspects were charged Tuesday morning in Kenansville after meeting with officers from the Warsaw Police Department, State Bureau of Investigations and Sheriff's Office.

He said the three surrendered to police after they found out warrants for their arrests had been issued. Wood said the warrants were based on information obtained by interviewing witnesses to the shooting.

Barden, who was a standout on the 2007 James Kenan High School state football championship team, was shot shortly after midnight last Thursday while standing with a group of people in front of Stewart's Creek Apartments just off of U.S. 117 in the northern part of town.

Wood said that the suspects and the victim were friends and had grown up in the same area. The supects had been a part of the group that had gathered at the apartment complex to talk.

Wood said the three teenagers said they found the high-powered rifle on a path in a wooded area near the apartment complex. He said the three were in a field near the apartments when the shooting occurred.

"We don't believe they found the weapon," Wood said.

But he said police have not yet been able to determine who the weapon belongs to.

The three suspects had taken turns firing the weapon, Wood said.

He said witnesses had told police the weapon was being fired into the air when someone called out to the three, "can't you shoot any better than that."

That is when the rifle apparently was fired toward the crowd gathered in front of the apartments, striking and killing Barden.

Wood said officers have been unable to determine who fired into the crowd. He said all three suspects have denied doing so and are blaming each other.

The shooting does not appear to be gang-related or deliberate, he said.

"We don't really have a motive," Wood said. "I don't think they were trying to shoot anybody. They were just messing around, trying to be 'cool,' I guess you could say.

"Young people don't see any danger. Anyway, you don't fire a loaded weapon. They didn't mean to shoot anybody but the end result is the same."