Two men in court after gunfire exchanged in Bartlett Street apartment building

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James Crump, right, talks with his attorney James Howaniec in Lewiston District Court on Monday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

LEWISTON — Two men connected to a weekend shooting appeared in court Monday on related charges.

Quentaris J. Leonard, 33, of 135.5 Bartlett St., was charged with possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, a Class C crime, punishable by up to five years in prison.

Quentaris J. Leonard, right, appears in Lewiston District Court with his attorney Jason Ranger on Monday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

James L. Crump, 41, of Dorchester, Massachusetts, was charged with attempted elevated aggravated assault, a Class B felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Charges of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and reckless conduct with a firearm, both Class C felonies, are each punishable by up to five years in prison.

Neither suspect entered a plea Monday because felony charges require the case be presented to a grand jury.

Police said in an affidavit that Crump, also known as “Jynx,” had fired shots from a .44-caliber handgun at Leonard in the stairwell at 135.5 Bartlett St. at about 6 a.m. Saturday. Police said Crump appeared to have fired shots from the second story in the direction of the third floor and into the apartment on that floor.

Police found bullet holes in the third floor apartment door where Leonard was living. There were also bullet holes in wallboard and a window sill in that apartment, according to the affidavit.

Shell casings from a smaller-caliber gun were found on the third floor landing, apparently deposited there as the shooter fired downward to the second floor landing, police wrote in the affidavit.

Tenants on the second floor told police they called 911 after hearing the shots. Bullets fired from outside their apartment appeared to have pierced their walls and lodged in their ceiling. They had two children in their apartment at the time of the shooting.

Leonard told police he was a drug dealer and a member of the Bloods gang. Police seized a small bag of cocaine in his apartment.

In the affidavit, police said they believe Leonard fired shots from a .40-caliber handgun from the third floor landing in the direction of the second floor. Because he is a convicted felon, Leonard was charged with being a prohibited person with a firearm.

He told police he had been at a social club the night before with a wad of cash in his wallet. Back at his apartment building, a man asked him if he wanted to buy some cocaine. The man returned later with Crump, Leonard said.

David Levesque, the detective who filed the affidavit, wrote that “several pieces of Leonard’s story did not make sense.”

Crump told police he had attended a party at Leonard’s apartment, where he and another man began to fight. Crump said at least two shots were fired during the fight, but he did not see a gun or know who had fired the shots.

Leonard had told everyone at the party to leave his apartment. Crump asked if he could return to buy marijuana from Leonard. He was told he could. When he came back and knocked on Leonard’s door, he was told to leave again and come back another time. As he retreated, Crump said he passed a man who was climbing the stairs to the third floor.

Crump, who police said changed his story several times, said he was outside the building when he heard shots fired.

Levesque wrote in his affidavit, “It is highly likely Leonard was correct in believing “PZ” and Crump wanted to steal his three pounds of marijuana from him.” The man identified in the affidavit as “PZ”  has not been charged in the shooting.

Crump appeared in 8th District Court on Monday, where defense attorney James Howaniec was assigned to the case and Crump’s bail was set at $50,000.

He was ordered by Judge Rick Lawrence not to have any firearms, alcohol and illegal drugs, for which he could be searched at random. He was also ordered to not have contact with others charged in the incident or with witnesses in the case.

Assistant District Attorney Katherine Bozeman said Crump had a “fairly substantial criminal history” outside of Maine dating back 17 years, as well as a conviction in Maine from last year.

“This is an incredibly serious case where there was a significant danger to the community posed by” Crump, she told the judge in an effort to have bail set at $100,000.

Howaniec told the judge that Crump, who lives in Auburn with his girlfriend, “is just adamantly denying his involvement” in the incident. The only evidence in the affidavit against Crump, which Howaniec called “confusing at best.” is according to statements by Leonard, whose narrative of the shooting kept shifting and “did not make sense,” according to police, Howaniec said.

“I would just ask the court to consider the ultimate provability of this case” when setting Crump’s bail, Howaniec said.

Bozeman said the inconsistencies in Leonard’s story applied to his use of a firearm rather than who shot at him and from where. Evidence showed Crumb ran from the scene, she said.

Jason Ranger was appointed to represent Leonard, whose bail was set at $10,000 cash or $5,000 with supervised release.

He was ordered not to have firearms, alcohol and illegal drugs for which he could be searched at random. He also was ordered to have no contact with co-defendants and witnesses.

Ranger said Leonard has four children in Alabama, and lives with his mother in Lewiston.

“He denies possessing or handling any gun in this case,” Ranger said of Leonard. “He’s confident the forensic evidence gathered” by police at the scene will not show he handled a firearm.

“He was at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Ranger said.

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