CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A man already facing charges connected to two previous shootings in Charleston now faces additional charges of putting out a contract on a city police officer.
Darrell “D.J.” Carter, 18, is charged with allegedly offering two men $15,000 to kill Charleston Police Chief of Detectives Lt. Steve Cooper.
“That is true, charges were filed in that case this morning,” Cooper said in an appearance on MetroNews “Talkline” Monday. “As far as me commenting on that, since I am an apparently victim in this case, it would be right for me to comment on that for the legal system.”
The charges are the latest in a string of violent incidents, much of which was tied to gang activity run out of Detroit.
“They are members of the Seven Mile Blood Gang of Detroit,” said Cooper. “What they typically do is come to Charleston to sell drugs and pick up weapons here they can take back or use here to enforce their criminal activity.”
Carter was initially charged with malicious wounding in a March shooting on Stuart Street and then in last week’s shooting on 6th Street. The latest incident left Tyrell McKinney, 18, of Charleston dead on the city’s West Side.
“Generally speaking, their hierarchy doesn’t like this type of attention,” said Cooper. “It’s bad for their business which is selling drugs and purchasing or stealing weapons here.”
Police have managed to round up every suspect in those two shootings and have them in custody. They also arrested two men involved in what officers described as a retaliation shooting against a bar bouncer in downtown Charleston early Saturday morning.
“It was a clear-cut ambush, it was just completely senseless,” Cooper said. “Those individuals are also locked up.”
The two suspects, Tasheem Collins and George Sawyer, had been thrown out of The Cellar on Capitol Street about 2 a.m. Saturday. Cooper said the pair waited outside until bouncer Jimmy Beasley left the bar and escorted two female patrons to their car. Police said Beasley was shot 12 times and continued Monday to fight for his life in the hospital.
Cooper was asked if the contract taken out on him changed his approach to the job.
“I’m always careful,” Cooper said. “We’re well-trained and we all take the necessary precaution on a daily basis. We deal with a lot of violent offenders in the detective division. This heightens it of course, but we don’t rest on our laurels as far as officer safety goes.”