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Teen headed to court for Fashion Square mall shooting that injured 2 men and dog

This March, a week before his 20th birthday, Jalontae Truriel Percer will go on trial.

The Albemarle County 19-year-old is accused of shooting two men and a puppy after he and his friends were told last fall to leave a cannabis dispensary at Fashion Square shopping mall north of Charlottesville.

"You guys are banned from the mall," Supreme Green’s owner and manager Jerome Henry allegedly told Percer and three other teens shortly before the Sept. 13 shooting in the mall’s parking lot. "Don’t come back to the store."

That detail was among several revealed at a preliminary hearing held on Dec. 2 in Albemarle County General District Court and transcribed by a court reporter.

Henry and employee Eliazar Prieto each testified that they were shot by Percer as they were driving past a mall entrance shortly after 7 p.m., moments after dismissing the teens.

"We did have to tell them to leave multiple times, and they refused," Prieto testified. "They were asking questions about whether they could buy stuff with a picture of an ID, and we were telling them no."

Before leaving, Percer began "jumping" at a puppy named Coco inside the store and another teen stepped behind the sales counter, Prieto testified. The incident took place just a few minutes before the two men closed up for the night around 7 p.m.

On their way outside, the two shopkeepers reportedly saw the teens gathered at the food court, where Henry allegedly delivered his admonition about banning them from the premises.

"We left together," Prieto testified, "because I wanted to walk him to his car in light of the events that had transpired."

As the vehicle made its way around the mall’s perimeter, Henry was driving as Prieto sat on the front passenger seat with Coco on his lap. The shopkeepers testified they saw the teens stepping off a curb.

Percer was in the lead, Henry testified.

"When he came out of the mall, he had a disgruntled face," Henry said. "Raised lips, raised eyebrows."

What happened next, Henry said, caught him completely off guard.

"There was glass everywhere," Henry said. "Glass was breaking, then everything just felt so surreal and like almost dreamlike. I then looked down and noticed there was a hole in my chest."

In addition to his chest wound, which he said that doctors told him was 10 centimeters from his heart, Henry reported getting shot in the fingers. Prieto reported three gunshot wounds, two in his right arm and one near the stomach.

On cross-examination, defense attorney Thomas Wilson peppered the two witnesses about a gun that Henry said he kept in his car.

"Get my gun," Henry reportedly urged Prieto when the teens were refusing to leave the store. In an admitted show of force, Prieto spoke of reaching for a gun-less backpack, even though both conceded in their testimony the gun was outside in Henry’s car.

Wilson also seemed interested in whether Henry later, in his car, made a move for a weapon.

"I did not reach for my handgun," Henry testified.

The defense put on no evidence in court, so the two men who were hit by bullets were the only witnesses to testify during the hearing.

"I ask," prosecutor Susan Baumgartner said to Judge Matthew Quatrara, "that you certify all four charges to the December grand jury."

Quatrara did so, and the grand jury did bring indictments on the four charges discussed that day: two malicious wounding and two firearm charges. The grand jury also added a fifth: a felony charge of animal cruelty for the wounds sustained by Coco. Henry testified that his dog received fragment wounds in her right arm, shoulder and torso.

After the shooting, Albemarle County police officers reviewed footage from the store’s surveillance cameras and identified Percer as their suspect, according to a document in the case file.

Police converged on Percer’s apartment, a unit in the Brookdale Apartments, a complex off Old Lynchburg Road, the following evening and arrested him. There, they confiscated a Taurus 9mm handgun along with a plastic silencer, according a search warrant inventory.

A conviction on the most serious charge, malicious wounding, can bring a penalty of five to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $100,000.

Percer, who reported being unemployed at the time of his arrest, has been held without bail in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail. His two-day trial is slated to be decided by a jury and begin on March 21.

Source: www.dailyprogress.com

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