WATERLOO — One of the last things Raymond Birden Jr. heard his brother say was a warning.
“He said, ‘You hear that?’ or something,” Birden, 19, told jurors, recounting how he and Otavious Brown were hanging out with friends in front of 817 Logan Ave. on the afternoon of July 17, 2016.
It wasn’t clear what Brown, 21, had heard — others recounted hearing a vehicle engine revving up — but the next thing Birden heard was gunfire.
Birden, who goes by “Duke,” took the stand Tuesday as the state’s second witness in the trial of Doncorrion Deangelo Spates, Armand Rollins and Shavondes Shavez Martin. They are charged with murder in Brown’s death and attempted murder and intimidation with a weapon in the shooting, which also injured Dewon Campbell Jr. and Aundrey Roberts Jr.
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Authorities said Martin, Spates and Rollins were in a Chevrolet Tahoe and opened fire on a group of people outside the Logan Avenue home. The Tahoe’s driver, Jacques Dominique Williamson, who pleaded to lesser charges in a plea deal, said the three forced him at gunpoint to drive past the gathering.
Birden said he looked around for the source of the gunfire and saw muzzle flashes coming from a passing vehicle.
“The shots were coming from the street, so I ran the opposite way,” he said.
Others also were running for cover, including Brown.
“I could tell he was hit ... because he jerked a little bit,” Birden said. He noticed Brown had a chest wound and grabbed him, helping him to the back of the house.
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Behind the house, they took stock of their injuries. Campbell was hit in the side, Roberts was struck in the foot, and Brown was on the ground bleeding and looking up, Birden said. They loaded everyone into Birden’s father’s Audi and drove to UnityPoint-Health Allen Hospital. Birden rode in back with Brown, trying to keep him conscious. Roberts drove with his wounded foot.
Birden said he wasn’t able to identify the vehicle where the shots came from or who was inside. He didn’t know how many guns were going off, but guessed he heard about a dozen shots. He said the first few shots came from the driver’s side window, and Brown was hit by the first volley.
During cross-examination, the defense questioned Birden about earlier sworn statements and a deposition interview where he stated it was the driver who fired the first shots. The defense had earlier used these statements to grill the driver, Williamson, who said he was forced to drive to the scene and denied shooting. Williamson testified Martin, who was the front seat passenger, fired past him and out his open window.
Birden said he had based his conclusion the driver was shooting on the fact he saw the muzzle flash from the driver’s window.
“The fire came out the front window, so in my opinion, yes,” Birden said.
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Williamson, 26, also returned to the stand Tuesday to face cross-examination by the defense. He was asked about having a permit to carry weapons, but said while he obtained the permit for safety reasons about five months before the shooting, he never bought a gun.
“I just never got around to it,” Williamson said.
Williamson also admitted he made a number of false statements to Waterloo police about what happened, and during a sworn deposition had withheld the name of a woman who gave him a ride after the shooting because he was trying to protect her.