WEST ALLIS - A botched robbery for drugs and money resulted in the shooting deaths of two brothers, according to documents filed Wednesday in Milwaukee County court.
A 14-year-old gunman, Spencer Lewis of West Allis, was charged as an adult with two counts of first-degree reckless homicide and one count of armed robbery in the slayings of Tarjan E. Edwards, 17, and Croshian Xaviere–Romaine Edwards, Jr., 19, according to a criminal complaint.
Tarjan Edwards was a senior at West Allis Central, while Croshian Edwards, Jr., was a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha. He played basketball at the two-year Waukesha university.
A West Allis-West Milwaukee School District spokesman called the victims good and well-mannered students. The older brother was an honor student and an accomplished athlete, competing in track and field.
Lewis was a student at Frank Lloyd Wright Intermediate School in West Allis. Lewis told police he and a 13-year-old accomplice went to the brothers' home to steal money and marijuana, according to the criminal complaint.
Lewis told police he thought Tarjan Edwards would not resist a robbery if he was threatened with a high-powered semiautomatic handgun.
Instead, Lewis and the 17 year old struggled over the gun. The shootings happened about 10 a.m. Sunday in the 2100 block of 89th Street, according to West Allis police. Lewis said he stole the gun and ammunition from his father, the complaint said. The two suspects had plotted the robbery for nearly a week, the complaint said.
Lewis's alleged accomplice told a different story. According to the complaint, the 13-year-old said the defendant shot Tarjan Edwards after Edwards told the defendant "don't play with me." The comment was made after Lewis reportedly pointed the gun at the victim's head, the complaint said.
The alleged accomplice said the 17-year-old got off the living room bed and was shot.
The defendant said he was worried that if Tarjan Edwards took the gun, he would try to shoot him.
The younger Edwards was shot once in the chest and once in the shoulder, according to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner. He died later of his wounds, being pronounced brain dead on Feb. 14 at Froedtert Hospital.
After the incident with the younger Edwards, Lewis ran toward the back door and encountered Croshian Edwards. The older brother grabbed Lewis and tried to gain control of the gun, the complaint said.
Lewis told police that he shot at the older brother until the gun was empty, the complaint said. He was shot four times, and died at the scene, according to the medical examiner.
The 13-year-old accomplice said he had come armed with a hammer to smash the 17 year old's fingers or kneecaps if he refused to surrender marijuana and money, the complaint said.
The defendant told police that he didn't expect anyone to get hurt.
There was no indication whether the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office will charge the 13-year-old believed to have been the boy's accomplice.
Lewis was arrested at his home four hours after the shootings. The accomplice also was taken into custody.
The complaint says the accomplice told police that the two had plotted the robbery for nearly a week. He said they had started for the Edwards home to commit the robbery the night before the killings, but turned back when they realized they had forgotten to bring a bag for the money and marijuana and because they saw police cars. The accomplice said he had a knife on that occasion and that Lewis had the gun and two extra magazines in case he needed to reload.
Lewis was driving his mother's minivan, the accomplice said. They briefly considered robbing another high school student in that earlier attempt, he said.
An online fundraiser has been set up for the Edwards family at http://bit.ly/2kufoYr