Public safety officials in Mobile battled a number of intentionally set fires and tracked down three suspects in a shooting that occurred after the Trinity Gardens parade over the weekend.
On Saturday, Feb. 17, the Mobile Police Department received reports of a shooting near First Avenue and Main Street shortly after 3 p.m. On the scene, police found three victims — all uninvolved bystanders — with minor gunshot wounds.
Police say the shooting was related to an ongoing dispute stemming from a fight at a recent football matchup between Blount and Vigor high schools, often called “The Battle of Prichard.”
The following day, police arrested 19-year-olds Isaiah Kelly, Hassan Jones and Demetris Hunter for their role in the shooting that led to three bystanders, an unoccupied car and a nearby home being struck by stray bullets.
The trio face multiple assault charges as well as others for shooting into an occupied dwelling, shooting into an unoccupied vehicle, possession of marijuana, reckless endangerment and certain persons forbidden to carry a firearm.
All three suspects have prior criminal records. Jones has previous charges for first-degree robbery and assault as well as discharging a gun into a building or vehicle, while Hunter has three prior charges for first-degree assault, another for firing a gun into a building or vehicle and additional charges for illegally carrying a concealed weapon.
However, Kelly’s criminal record is the most notorious. In 2015, he was one of the teenagers involved in the shooting and attempted carjacking of Maria Williamson, who lost an eye after being shot at point-blank range in her car at the intersection of Dauphin and Monterey streets in midtown. Kelly was granted youthful offender status in that case, which secured him lighter punishment and allowed the charge to be removed from his record.
Last fall, Kelly was again arrested for shooting two teenagers at a local party.
Mobile County District Judge Joe Basenberg denied prosecutors’ request to hold all three suspects without bond, and instead granted bonds on the condition that 10 percent — around $12,000 — be cash. As of Tuesday, all three suspects were still in police custody.
The Mobile Fire Rescue Department was involved in its own calls over the weekend from a combination of vehicle and structural fires spanning two days. On Saturday, during the same Trinity Gardens parade, MFRD spokesman Steven Millhouse said nine civilian automobiles were burned in a large grass fire that started with a single parked vehicle.
According to investigators, initial reports were that a vehicle caught fire along the Interstate 65 Service Road and Main Street, and the fire then spread to dry grass nearby. As many as eight vehicles parked in the area began to burn as the blaze spread.
While the cause of the initial car fire is still under investigation, Millhouse said the owner told authorities he had mechanical troubles prior to the incident. No injuries were reported.
The following evening, MFRD officials responded to a second report of a vehicle fire — this one at the Pathways Apartment Homes near Florida Street in midtown. Upon arrival at the scene, the crew immediately called for additional assistance, as flames were quickly spreading from an engulfed automobile in the parking lot to an adjacent vehicle and nearby apartment building.
Firefighters were able to extinguish flames with no reported injuries, but an investigation suggested the fire was likely started intentionally, according to Millhouse. Bobby Walsh Love, 27, was later apprehended and arrested on five felony and eight misdemeanor counts of arson.
According to MFRD investigators, Love allegedly fired gunshots into one of the apartment buildings before setting fire to a nearby structure. Police say Love has several outstanding warrants with other local municipalities, including the cities of Mobile and Prichard.
Records kept by the Mobile County Metro Jail indicate Love has previous charges in the area that date back to 2009 and range from minor drug possession to more serious offenses including cocaine trafficking, domestic violence and robbery.
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