WEDNESDAY, JULY 18: A gunman told detectives he shot a man in the back of the head because senior gang members ordered him to do so.
Pelealkhai Williams fired a single shot at Rodney Grimes in the car park of Gravity Nightclub on North Shore Road in the early hours of October 8, last year.
The 21-year-old admitted he was involved with the ‘42’ gang and had been instructed to “retrieve the firearm and kill the victim”.
Williams was arrested the day after the shooting and found to have gunshot residue all over his hands.
Yesterday at Supreme Court, prosecutor Cindy Clarke outlined the case against Williams and his co-defendant, Jonathan Dill, who drove Williams away from the scene on his bike.
Williams had previously admitted conspiracy to commit an indictable offence with a firearm and wounding with intent, while Dill, 20, pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to wounding with intent.
Ms Clarke told the court: “Williams said that he saw the victim at the club and was ordered by others to go and retrieve the firearm and kill the victim.
“He fully admitted to following the victim, walking up behind him, raising the firearm and firing a shot towards the back of the victim’s head. He then confessed to fleeing the area on the back of Dill’s cycle, and later stashing the firearm.”
Mr Grimes miraculously escaped fatal injuries despite the fact he was shot from such close range. He sustained a bullet wound to his left ear and a graze to his left temple. He was treated at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital but later released. Forensic officers found one spent 9mm bullet casing at the scene, which has since been linked to nine other cases.
Ms Clarke added: “The defendants both have ties to the 42 gang. The victim Grimes is not known as a gang member, but has association with gangs from the central areas like Parkside and Middletown.”
Ms Clarke suggested 42 members frequent the Gravity Night Club and said “it would be considered to be disrespectful for an opposing gang member to socialize in that club.
“There is an on-going feud between Parkside and the 42nd gang, the root of which is unknown but appears to revolve around the sale of controlled drugs but also encompasses a series of retaliatory attacks on each gang.
“If a neutral or non gang affiliated person or a rival or even a current gang member were to show signs of disrespect to a member of the gang, then this person’s act would be seen as a sign of disrespect to every gang member. An insult or assault or any other act on one gang member will be perceived as an attack on the entire gang. In this instance, the ‘shot callers’ will call upon lower ranking gang members to seek revenge usually in the form of an assault.”
CCTV footage taken from inside Gravity showed Dill and Williams in the company of other known 42 members and Williams left the club at 2:57am with a known 42 gang member.
Mr Grimes left the club at 3am and made his way to the Clay House Inn where he had parked.
Ms Clarke added: “At around 3:09am Williams, dressed in dark clothing, wearing a dark helmet with the visor up followed the victim to the car park. He approached the victim from behind, pointed at his head and a single gunshot was discharged from a gun. The victim fell to the ground whilst Williams stood over him with a gun. The defendant Williams then ran off.”
Williams and Dill were due to be sentenced yesterday but the hearing had to be adjourned because it overran. The pair will return to court tomorrow to be sentenced and their lawyers will mitigate on their behalf. Both men were remanded in custody in the meantime.