Police say 2 Sharon shootings connected to New Castle homicide

Apr. 23—SHARON — Investigators say two shootings in Sharon during the past six months were retaliation against those the suspect believes were involved in his brother's homicide last summer at a graduation party in New Castle.

Sharon investigators and the victim testified Monday at the suspect's preliminary hearing in Mercer for one of the Sharon shootings in front of District Judge Daniel W. Davis.

Julian Marki Jackson Jr., 18, New Castle, was charged with attempted criminal homicide and aggravated assault in connection with the shooting of a 23-year-old Sharon man April 2 on North Water Avenue, just off West State Street in Sharon. A charge of prohibited possession of a firearm was withdrawn.

Sharon police Detective Sgt. Justin Wiley testified that the shooting was a case of mistaken identity. The victim is a Penn State Shenango basketball player from Cleveland who testified that he does not know Jackson.

"I think this was a mistake," Wiley said in court.

Wiley said outside of court that he believes the real target was inside a Sharon business in the sub-100 block of North Water Avenue at the same time the victim came out of a nearby apartment and was shot by two or three men.

Police believe the intended target was someone Jackson thinks was involved in his brother's death last summer at a graduation party in New Castle. Jackson's younger brother, Damian, 15, was killed June 10 during a celebration June 10 at Bollinger Playground in New Castle.

Two other people were wounded.

Police said they believe Julian Jackson targeted someone in the North Water Street shooting to retaliate for his brother's death. Officers found 37 shell casings in a parking lot near where the victim had exited a building. They also found a cell phone that they connected to Jackson.

Detectives studied multiple video surveillance images from nearby businesses and determined that a black SUV arrived at the Mercer County Visitors Center parking lot at 50 N. Water Ave. and parked there at 11:53 p.m. April 1.

At 12:10 a.m. April 2, the victim and his friend left an apartment across the street from the parking lot and started walking toward the parking lot. The victim testified that two or three men got out of the SUV and began firing at them.

The victim was shot multiple times in the lower torso and groin area. He has had surgery on his stomach, a fractured hip and wounds on his back and thighs, he said.

Charges were held over to Mercer County Court of Common Pleas in that case.

Sharon police then charged Jackson on Monday with a previous shooting in Sharon they believe is connected to the New Castle homicide.

Jackson was charged with aggravated assault, attempted homicide, prohibited possession of a firearm, carrying a firearm without a license and conspiracy to commit criminal homicide in a shooting that happened Nov. 25 in the 200 block of Cedar Avenue.

Police responded at 1:04 a.m. Nov. 25 to the 200 block of Cedar Avenue for a report of shots fired and two possible gunshot victims.

When police arrived they found the two juvenile victims to have potential life-threatening gunshot wounds. One suffered a gunshot wound to the left ankle and the other suffered from a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Both survived.

Police said it was stated that members or affiliates of a group in the Sharon/Farrell area were to have shot and killed Jackson's younger brother last summer at a graduation party in New Castle.

Police said that they found a video and audio recording on a cell phone Jackson had on him. They said Jackson admitted to his mother during the recording to firing multiple shots in the direction of four juvenile males in an attempt to kill them.

During the same conversation with his mother, Jackson admitted to posting a picture on SnapChat of the firearm used in the shooting with the comment of "Heard he got hit with a 10 mm." Police said multiple 10-mm spent shell casings were found in the 200 block of Cedar Avenue after the shooting.

On March 24, a week before the North Water Avenue shooting, New Castle police arrested Jackson in connection with a kidnapping incident at about 11 a.m. March 24 in Neshannock Township.

According to a criminal complaint, New Castle police assisted Neshannock police at a home where Jackson reportedly took two people hostage by forcing them out of an apartment and into a vehicle at gunpoint, and threatened one of them.

He was charged with kidnapping, illegal possession of a firearm, making terroristic threats, assault and reckless endangerment. He was taken to Lawrence County Jail on a $50,000 bond, which was posted five days later.

Jackson is in Mercer County Jail on a $1.5 million bond.

He awaits an arraignment June 25 in Common Pleas court on the North Water Avenue shooting charges.

A preliminary hearing for the November shooting on Cedar Avenue charges is scheduled for May 10.

Follow Melissa Klaric on twitter @HeraldKlaric or email her at mklaric@sharonherald.com