Bullet barrage kills 19-year-old

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Mar’Quise Deshun Evans shot dead at Caroline Courts

By Reece Murphy

A 19-year-old Lancaster man was shot to death at Caroline Courts apartments Tuesday night in what neighbors described as a barrage of gunfire.
The incident was the third shooting in Lancaster in as many days and the county’s second murder this year.
The Lancaster County Coroner’s Office identified the victim as Mar’Quise Deshun Evans. The release said Evans died of multiple gunshot wounds.
According to the Lancaster Police Department, officers were called to the 400 block of Caroline Courts about 9:16 p.m. They found a black SUV that had been shot numerous times.
Initial reports said as officers began to investigate the situation, Evans walked from behind an apartment and collapsed. But neighbors told The Lancaster News that Evans had already fallen in the front yard of the 400 block of apartments before officers arrived.
In either case, officers tried to administer first aid, but Evans remained unresponsive. First responders arrived soon and pronounced Evans dead at the scene.
Evans died just outside Caroline Courts resident Sally Sweatt’s front door. Like other neighbors, Sweatt said the shooting exploded out of nowhere.
“We fell down on the floor, because here that’s what you’re expected to do,” Sweatt said. “I went to the door and looked out. I could smell (gunsmoke).
“My daughter said, ‘Mama, there’s a body!’ I thought she was kidding, but she started crying. When I looked again, he was right there. You could see his foot moving.”
Caroline Courts is a 100-unit public housing complex off Springdale Road between Williams Estate Drive and Springdell Baptist Church.
Neighbors said Evans didn’t live in Caroline Courts, but spent a lot of time there with a friend who lives in the 16-unit section of the complex with a separate entrance on Pine Springs Drive.
Rita Coleman, who lives across the parking lot, said there was a gathering at the apartment Tuesday afternoon, but nothing too disruptive or out of the ordinary.
“I walked out on my back porch about 9 o’clock to see if there was a full moon, and I saw people gathered at an old black Suburban parked by the dumpster,” she said. “I just turned around and went back inside. That was about 10 minutes before the gunshots.
“It sounded like somebody was pounding on my back door,” she said.
Lancaster Police Chief Scott Grant said detectives with his department, with assistance from Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office investigators and SLED agents, had been working the case since the night it happened.
He said it was too early in the investigation to determine if the shooting was connected to shooting incidents at an annual block party on North Market Street Saturday night that sent two people to the hospital. Neither victim suffered life-threatening injuries.
“We’re not ruling anything out at this point,” Grant said. “We don’t have any specific information that they’re connected, but anything is possible until it isn’t.
”We’re neck deep in it and going to continue at it until we can make sense of what happened,” he said.
In a release Wednesday, Grant asked for the public’s help in solving the case.
“A young man has lost his life in yet another act of senseless violence,” Grant said. “It is my sincere hope that anyone with information concerning this incident will contact the Lancaster Police Department.”
Victim ‘full of life’
Among those stopping by to see the crime scene was a longtime friend of Evans’ named Farrika Grier. Grier said Evans left behind a 1-year-old son who he cherished.
He described Evans, known as “Mini Me” by his friends, as “full of life,” with an outgoing sense of humor that “could make anybody smile.”
Though Grier wouldn’t talk about what he heard happened Tuesday night, he said Evans never hurt anyone and had no quarrel with anyone.
“There was nobody who didn’t like him. That’s the kind of person he was,” Evans said. “You could not not like him. He didn’t do anything to nobody. An innocent bystander.
“That’s why I had to come out here. In my mind, I can’t believe he’s gone,” he said.
Saturday shootings
According to a Lancaster Police Department incident report, officers were working a detail at an annual party in the 600 block of North Market Street about 11:30 Saturday night when officers heard two gunshots come from an unknown location in the crowd.
The report said officers moved toward the location of the shots and when they arrived in the area heard five more shots from behind a home at 618 North Market St. The suspects escaped as the crowd panicked, the report said.
As officers helped party-goers leave, they received a report of a shooting victim at the Springs Memorial Hospital emergency room who’d been shot in the buttocks.
The man said he didn’t see who shot him.
The report said another man soon arrived at the emergency room who said that he and others had left the party and were driving in the area of Clinton Elementary when someone shot at the car they were in.
He said the bullet went through the car door and struck him in the knee.
Though detectives later recovered several spent shell casings from a .380-caliber weapon from behind the home on North Market Street, they still have not determined the shooter’s identity.
Evans’ murder was the second local killing this year, following the shooting death of Speedee Mart convenience store owner Harnish Patel at his home on Craig Manor Road outside Lancaster March 2.
Other incidents
Caroline Courts has been the scene of many violent incidents over the years, including a Feb. 26 incident in which an 18-year-old woman was shot in the shoulder as she drove into the complex. Police later arrested 18-year-old Zion Twitty for attempted murder and related charges.
Last Oct. 10, two men were shot in a running exchange of gunfire along Yancy Street and Brooklyn Avenue near the Caroline Courts units where Tuesday’s shooting occurred.
Among the highest-profile cases occurred on June 10, 2014, when 48-year-old James Hood was shot to death in his apartment at Caroline Courts, a location not 100 feet from Tuesday’s shooting.
Jermaine Grier of Lancaster, 29, was charged with murder and other charges in the crime. Grier was himself shot about 20 minutes after the crime when a man who lived on nearby Brooklyn Avenue caught him beating a woman in his front yard.
Anyone with information on either of the latest cases is encouraged to call the Lancaster Police Department at (803) 283-1173 or the anonymous tip line at (803) 289-6040.

Contact reporter Reece Murphy at (803) 283-1151 or follow on Twitter @ReeceTLN.