Police have identified two suspects arrested Monday in the Senita neighborhood of Maricopa following the shooting death of a man in Tempe.
Isaiah Williams, 18, and Saif Woods, 17, are charged with first-degree murder and aggravated robbery in the incident at an IKEA store, according to Tempe police Det. Natalie Barela. She said the violence stemmed from a drug deal gone bad.
“During the transaction, some form of an altercation occurred,” Barela said. “Detectives are still trying to work through the details of exactly what led to the shooting, but we believe some form of altercation occurred and that’s when our victim was shot.”
The victim was identified by Tempe police as Chris McCrimmon, 21.
Barela said Williams is being held at the Maricopa County Jail in downtown Phoenix and Woods is in custody at the Durango Juvenile Center in Phoenix. She said that although Woods is 17, his case will probably move to adult court.
Authorities “believe it is going to go in that direction,” Barela said. “Once we submit this case it will be up to the county attorney’s office moving forward as to whether to charge him as an adult”.
Maricopa police Cmdr. Stephen Judd said Monday that police believed there is “a nexus to Maricopa,” but could not identify the connection at the time. As of Wednesday afternoon, neither Tempe nor Maricopa police could confirm if Williams or Woods are Maricopa residents.
Barela elaborated on the investigation.
“Detectives learned that the suspects planned to meet the victim for some form of drug transaction,” Barela said. “I want to be clear that IKEA and the surrounding businesses had nothing to do with this incident. It was just a meeting place. Oftentimes you see people meet, and we recommend that people, if they’re buying something on Offer Up or doing a custodial exchange of children, that they meet at a public place like that for safety reasons. Unfortunately, this one had a criminal element to it.”
According to Barela, who cited detectives’ statements in court documents, witnesses allegedly saw the two suspects fighting with McCrimmon prior to the shooting. After shots were fired, the witnesses told police they saw Williams and Woods get into a Ford Expedition and leave the area. Woods was driving, witnesses told police.
A Gila River police officer spotted the vehicle on State Route 347 and followed it to Maricopa. Officers from several police agencies, including Maricopa police, then followed it to a home in the 43000 block of West Wild Horse Trail, where Williams and Woods were arrested without incident.
Tempe detectives said the suspects tossed a backpack, allegedly taken from McCrimmon’s car, from their vehicle during the ride to Maricopa. Police said they found marijuana, a revolver with one spent cartridge, and another handgun inside the bag.
No bystanders or police officers were injured in the incident or the arrest. Court dates for the suspects were not yet available.