A dispute over drugs may have been at the root of a murder in Madison, police and prosecutors said Friday afternoon as they announced charges in the case.
Madison County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Mike Dixon, who led the Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis’ investigation into the killing, said James A. Moore, 23, of Madison faces two first-degree murder charges in the shooting death Wednesday of Mitchell Coleman, 44.
According to Dixon, several people were outside around 1 p.m. Wednesday in the 1000 block of Washington Avenue when a shooter approached Coleman’s pickup and fired at least 16 rounds into the passenger side. Coleman, of East St. Louis, was struck at least 10 times, Dixon said.
Dixon said witnesses reported seeing the shooter run west from the scene toward Madison Avenue. Police responding to the shooting initially did not locate the shooter, but investigators located Moore later Wednesday evening at his girlfriend’s house in Venice and took him into custody on a warrant for an older charge.
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Dixon said other individuals who were present at the time of the shooting also were taken into custody for interviews.
“(Moore) was interviewed, as were other individuals. Information was developed during those interviews to hold Mr. Moore for at least obstructing justice,” Dixon said. He said investigators eventually developed enough evidence to arrest and charge Moore in connection with the homicide.
While Coleman and Moore may have had a dispute over drugs, Dixon said investigators don’t believe Coleman had been set up and ambushed. “None of that has been substantiated,” he said.
“(Moore) had some discontent for (Coleman) and saw him in the area, retrieved a gun and attacked him,” Dixon said.
Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons praised the Major Case Squad’s speedy investigation of a crime he called “truly a tragedy” and “not something we’re accustomed to.”
“This case is another example of the importance of the Major Case Squad. In the end, they get their man,” Gibbons said.
In addition to the first-degree murder charges, Moore faces an obstruction charge. He was being held Friday afternoon at the Madison County Jail on $250,000 bond.
Police also issued an obstruction charge against a St. Louis man who was at the scene of the shooting and whose statements changed several times during the investigation, Dixon said. Jeremy M. Horton of St. Louis was arrested and remains in custody on $100,000 bond.
Dixon said 23 investigators representing several metro-east police departments and federal agencies participated in the investigation.