Failed drug theft led to slaying at Orchard Mesa home
A botched attempt to steal drugs early Friday from an Orchard Mesa home landed a man behind bars on murder charges in the shooting death of a 16-year-old boy, his suspected accomplice.
The home’s resident is recovering after being shot in the stomach.
The suspected shooter, Joshua Ringold, 22, appeared emotional in court Monday as he was advised of first-degree murder charges and handed a $1 million bond by a judge.
Ringold and Cody English, 16, were fleeing the home, 293 1/2 28 Road, after getting into a scuffle with the home’s residents. Ringold shot his gun back toward the home, wounding one of the residents, Brandon McPherson, 22, and killing his co-conspirator, English, who died later, according to an arrest affidavit in the case.
About 11:30 p.m. Thanksgiving night, English was picked up in a charcoal-colored Kia sedan driven by Ryan Mitchell, 23, with passengers including Jeremiah Carey, 20, Johnny Herrera, 19, and Ringold, the affidavit said. Mitchell told investigators the group was heading to a home on Orchard Mesa to get some “bud,” or marijuana, and the occupants in his car talked about robbing the home’s residents to get the drugs.
Mitchell parked a couple blocks down the street from the home, and he and Herrera stayed in the vehicle as Carey acted as a lookout and Ringold and English walked toward the home, the affidavit said.
The home’s occupants, Brandon and Christine McPherson, told investigators they were sleeping Thursday night when they heard a noise outside the home. Brandon McPherson looked outside and didn’t see anything, then walked out to the garage to smoke when he saw three people whom he described as two Hispanic men and one black man, smoking down the road, and confronted them from the edge of his yard. McPherson said the three men were wearing Halloween masks and two of them followed him into his garage as McPherson attempted to go back inside.
McPherson said one man attacked him in the garage, and McPherson hit him over the head with a metal pipe — a rod for hanging clothes — as he saw the other suspect, the black man, enter his home and threaten Christine with a gun in their kitchen.
The two suspects then fled the home and Christine McPherson said she saw her husband run after them and she heard two popping sounds, which sounded like gunshots. The couple retreated into the home and called 911, the affidavit said. Christine McPherson reported hearing more gunshots outside of the home as the suspects fled. Brandon McPherson was taken to a hospital for a gunshot wound to the stomach.
English’s head injury was apparent when he and Ringold were running back to the car, but none of the vehicle’s occupants knew of the gunshot wound to the chest, according to the affidavit. Mitchell started driving to St. Mary’s Hospital but dropped off Ringold in the area of Ninth and Main streets.
“While enroute to the hospital, Joshua was making statements such as asking if he had hit him (as in when shooting),” the affidavit said.
Hospital officials told police three men dropped English off at the hospital and sped away in a silver-colored passenger car without identifying themselves.
Mesa County Coroner Dean Havlik later confirmed that English died at the hospital of a gunshot wound to the chest and not from the head injury.
Police released a bulletin for officers to be on the lookout for the vehicle, and soon found a car matching that description in the parking lot of an apartment complex at 1324 Glenwood Ave., near where Mitchell lived.
Grand Junction police officers noticed a large bloodstain on the back seat of the Kia and saw two men walking away from the vehicle, who were later identified as Carey and Mitchell. The two were taken to the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department for questioning.
The other suspects in the vehicle told investigators they knew Ringold always carried a gun, but they didn’t see him carrying the gun that night.
Upon searching the McPherson home, police found “several items indicative of drug and/or marijuana sales,” such as two jars of marijuana buds, digital scales, psychedelic mushrooms, and pay/owe sheets or lists of people who have paid money or owe money for drugs.
Carey, who was on felony probation during the time of the incident, has been arrested on suspicion of aggravated robbery, first-degree burglary and complicity.
Ringold was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder, criminal attempt to commit first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree assault, aggravated robbery, first-degree burglary and two counts of first-degree menacing.