4 Charged in Witness Intimidation Shooting

A nearly two-year long joint investigation by the District Attorney's Office and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives led to the arrest of four men for their roles in a witness intimidation and shooting plot, police announced in a press conference Wednesday.

The men, 35-year-old Charles Alexander, 42-year-old Troy Cooper, 37-year-old Aki Jones and 21-year-old Shaheed Williams were charged with attempted murder, witness intimidation, aggravated assault and conspiracy for shooting a man who was a witness to a shooting involving Jones.

The witness, police say, called 911 in 2010 to report a shooting on Turner St. Jones was arrested and charged for his part in the shooting.

In September 2011, on the morning of Jones' trial, the witness was leaving his home when he was shot three times in the head at close range by Williams, according to authorities.

Williams allegedly told the victim, "You won't talk no more," before firing the fourth shot.

The witness survived the shooting and was able to help police bring down Williams and his accomplices. He is now in witness protection.

"“I first want to applaud the victim in this case,” said District Attorney Seth Williams.  “At a time when too many witness are afraid to go to court because they are intimidated by thugs like these defendants, this victim heroically came forward despite being shot and made sure that justice was not denied.”

Authorities in Philadelphia say they have filed more than 2,000 witness-intimidation charges since 2011 to try to address the city's "no snitching" culture.
“We need to bring an end to the anti-snitching culture that is so pervasive in some of our communities,” ATF Special Agent in Charge Sam Rabadi said.

The cases range from execution-style slayings to courtroom threats,

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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