Hoover police today announced that a second teenager has been charged with murder in connection with the Jan. 5 shooting death of an Iraq War veteran outside his Lake Cyrus home.
Ahmad Jaquan Johnson, 17, of Birmingham is being charged with murder and nine counts of breaking and entering vehicles in Hoover, police said in a press conference this morning at the Hoover Police Operations Center on Lorna Road.
Johnson was arrested by the Bessemer Police Department on Jan. 7, just two days after the shooting death of Iraq War veteran Mike Gilotti in Hoover, Hoover police Officer Brian Hale said. He was driving a stolen vehicle that had other stolen items in it and has been held in a juvenile holding facility since that day, Hale said.
Johnson now has been charged as an adult and will be transferred to the Jefferson County Jail.
The first person charged with Gilotti’s murder on Jan. 15, 16-year-old Charleston Everett Wells of Bessemer, now has also been charged with nine counts of breaking and entering vehicles in Hoover, Hale said. Wells continues to be held in the Jefferson County Jail.
Hoover police said they believe at least two more people were present with Wells and Johnson when Gilotti was shot. Authorities continue to gather and process evidence in the homicide and related crimes and will continue working with other jurisdictions to bring everyone to justice who was involved, police Capt. Gregg Rector said.
Photo by Jon Anderson
Hoover PD press conference 2-4-16 Rector
Hoover police Capt. Gregg Rector talks about the arrest of a second person charged in the Jan. 5, 2016, shooting death of Lake Cyrus resident Mike Gilotti during a press conference on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016.
Rector said police are not ready to identify the person who pulled the trigger of the gun used to kill Gilotti. They expect more arrests will be made, and other jurisdictions likely will be seeking additional charges against suspects in this crime and related crimes.
Wells and Johnson are part of a group of “common street criminals” that call themselves M-tre, which stands for “money-making mafia,” Rector said.
They tell people they are aspiring rappers, but they’re not, Rector said.
“They’re criminals that break into cars for a living. They’re criminals who steal cars — criminals who are involved in drug business and, in this case, they’re property thieves who when confronted by a homeowner, they took that to a whole new level and shot and killed an innocent person,” Rector said.
Their motto is that they “get money,” but “when they talk about getting money, that means taking money from you and I and people that actually have jobs and earn money for a living,” Rector said. “Getting money means stealing from innocent people.”
Just 24 hours before Gilotti was shot, this same group of people were breaking into cars in an area outside of Hoover, Rector said.
“They were confronted by a homeowner. They shot at that homeowner four times and fortunately missed,” Rector said. “In that case, we’re just fortunate that that homeowner was not injured or killed.”
Most of the people involved in M-tre live in the Bessemer area and are 15-20 years old, Rector said. Bessemer police are familiar with them and are doing everything they can to combat crime in their city, but “Bessemer PD can’t go into someone’s home and raise a kid and teach him right from wrong any more than Hoover PD can,” Rector said.
Hale said there are still people in the Bessemer community who have information that can help bring to justice the people involved in Gilotti’s shooting and police encourage those people to come forward.
Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to call Hoover police Sgt. Keith Cseskleba at 205-739-6795 or the Hoover Police Department at 205-822-5300. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward can call Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama at 205-254-7777.
In the meantime, Hoover police are continuing to work on this case every day, Rector said.
"It's certainly a challenge because we have multiple individuals involved. We have mounds of evidence to sift through. We've got car break-ins, and we're having to treat each one of those car break-ins like it itself is a murder scene, so we have to be extremely meticulous," Rector said. "Hundreds of fingerprints have to be analyzed. There's other physical evidence. There's electronic evidence.
"I wish this investigation could go faster than it's going, but I'm very grateful that we're 30 days after the death of Mike Gilotti and now we've officially held a second person who's responsible accountable for his actions," Rector said.
Hoover police Chief Nick Derzis said "we will continue to investigate this case until we are satisfied that everybody involved is behind bars."