South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

Hilltop area gang members indicted in 2014 shootings

 


A years-long investigation of gang activity in South Pittsburgh has resulted in multiple Grand Jury indictments and nine arrests — including the arrests of four people who are charged in the 2014 murder in Carrick of Omar Hodges, a City of Pittsburgh refuse worker.

The arrests clear multiple cases and dismantle the leadership of the Daccide and Zhoove gangs that waged a violent war on the streets of Pittsburgh in October, 2014:

Darccide gang members Angelo Massie, Norman Blackwell and Ronald Clayton were shot and wounded on the 3100 block of Cordell Place in Arlington Heights on October 11, 2014. According to police, the Darccide gang originated in the former St. Clair Village.

Brandon Benson, who was associated with the Darccide gang, was shot on the 3000 block of Arlington Avenue in Arlington Heights on October 12, 2014.

Omar Hodges, 29, was fatally shot by three members of Zhoove while sitting in his car on the 1300 block of Birmingham Avenue in Carrick shortly before beginning his shift as a refuse collector on October 13, 2014.

And, on October 20, 2014, Hamza Altrawi was kidnapped and tortured by Zhoove gang members.

The investigation connects additional crimes to the groups, including a December 22, 2014 shooting of a man on Allen Street.

Police investigated the violence from the start, at which time they determined that federal investigators were conducting a drug trafficking investigation of these groups.

In 2016, Pittsburgh Violent Crimes detectives, including Joseph Fabus, Garrett Spory and Edward Fallert, and Narcotics Detective Eric Harpster took over the investigation. 

They connected the shootings and kidnapping to the federal drug investigation and obtained new evidence and witnesses. In 2018, a Grand Jury convened. The Grand Jury was necessary to assure the protection of key witnesses from ongoing retaliatory violence.

In January, 2019, the Grand Jury returned indictments on nine people in connection to the violence from October, 2014. Police have now arrested all nine suspects:

Detectives relied on video evidence, ballistic evidence, cell phone analysis and social media analysis as part of the investigation. In addition, multiple witness statements were obtained by Pittsburgh detectives in locations across the country.

The investigation revealed the two violent groups, Zhoove and Darccide, engaged in an all-out turf war that included gang members placing bounties of up to $20,000 on the heads of rival gang leaders.

Omar Hodges was a victim of this senseless battle. He had no gang affiliation. He was an innocent, hard-working man who was killed while sitting in his car and waiting to go to work simply because his car resembled the vehicle of a high-ranking gang leader.

Four of the suspects arrested -- Lance Gardenhire, Chris Brown, Holman Brown and Corey Cheatom -- have been charged with homicide in Mr. Hodges’ death.

Arrested and charged are:

Gemere Bey, 29, of Beltzhoover is charged with aggravated assault, kidnapping, burglary, terroristic threats and recklessly endangering another person.

Christopher Bradley-Bey, 25, of Beltzhoover is charged with aggravated assault, kidnapping, burglary, terroristic threats and recklessly endangering another person.

Holman Brown, 27, of Beltzhoover is charged with homicide, criminal conspiracy, aggravated assault, kidnapping, burglary, carrying a firearm without a license, terroristic threats and reckless endangerment of another person.

Christopher Brown, 26, of Beltzhoover is charged with homicide, aggravated assault, and criminal conspiracy.

Corey Cheatom, 27, of Beltzhoover is charged with homicide, attempted homicide, aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy, tampering with evidence, and other charges.

Shakeem Davis, 28, of McKees Rocks is charged with attempted homicide, criminal conspiracy and aggravated assault.

Cody Duncan, 27, of Beltzhoover is charged with aggravated assault and criminal conspiracy.

Lance Gardenhire, 43, of Beltzhoover is charged with homicide, aggravated assault and solicitation.

The results of the investigation were a result of collaboration between Homicide detectives, Narcotics detectives, the Intelligence Unit and Zone 3 detectives.

Many agencies played a hand in this investigation, including: The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, The US Attorney’s Office, The Allegheny County Crime Lab.

 

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