Middletown police urge residents to report potential violence

Middletown police urge residents to report potential violence

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GREG LYNCH/STAFF
One person was killed and at least one other person was injured in a shooting at D & J’s Nite Spot in Middletown early Tuesday morning. One victim, identified as Julian Marquis Johnson, 23, of Middletown, was shot and pronounced dead at the scene. A second victim, only identified as a woman, was also found with a gunshot wound and was transported to Atrium Medical Center, but her condition was not released.

Shootings that started as early as the summer of 2016 are continuing in Middletown and residents are being urged to report any “potential violence” to police.

Middletown dispatchers received a call Wednesday from a resident of a “possible drive-by shooting” in the city, said Lt. Jimmy Cunningham. He said uniformed police officers were dispatched to the area, but no shots were fired. Even though it was a false alarm, Cunningham appreciated the tip.

“That’s the kind of thing we want to know of,” he said. “So we can be visible enough to deter it.”

Earlier this week, Julian Marquis Johnson, 23, of Middletown, was shot and killed, the city’s sixth homicide of the year, matching the number from all of 2016, according to police records reviewed by the Journal-News.

In May 2017, there were 13 reports of shots fired in the city, though in some cases, police located no evidence, according to records reviewed by the Journal-News.

Malcolm Franklin, 27, formerly of Baton Rouge, La., was charged with aggravated murder and three counts of felonious assault for his alleged involvement in the shooting at 1:45 a.m. Tuesday outside D&J’s Nite Spot, 1200 Elliott Drive, police said.

Malcolm Franklin, 27, formerly of Baton Rouge, La., was charged with aggravated murder and three counts of felonious assault for his alleged involvement in the shooting at 1:45 a.m. Tuesday outside D&J’s Nite Spot, 1200 Elliott Drive, police said. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Bond was set at $1 million for Franklin, who remains in the City Jail, according to records.

Police believe the shootings are being committed by “a select few who have prior knowledge” of each other. The shootings, police believe, are drug-related, Cunningham said.

“It’s not a wide spread issue,” he said. “It’s a specific group of people.”

Cunningham said “it’s possible” more arrests may be made in connection to the fatal shooting at D&J’s Nite Spot.

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