What allegedly began as a carjacking just outside the New York City limits has ended with two would-be robbers dead and their intended victim held on homicide charges. But is this case vigilante street justice — or just plain, cold-blooded murder?
According to police accounts, the two slain men approached their victim at about 4:40 in the morning on Friday, outside the Dyer Avenue Deli, just north of New York City in the lower end of Westchester County. Jermaine Johnson, 28 — who had become a father for the first time last month — and Kaiison Lewis allegedly intended to carjack a Mercedes-Benz SUV from Jeffery Pierre, 33.
Police say however, that they are not certain exactly what happened. They believe, at this point, that the two men, both residents of Mount Vernon, New York, tried to steal Pierre’s SUV at gunpoint.
They do know, however, that whatever Johnson and Lewis were up to, it went south in a hurry. Pierre, it turns out, was not about to give up his Mercedes easily — and was also armed. Johnson and Lewis fled back to their own car, a green Acura parked nearby.
Though Pierre was at that point apparently in no further danger, he decided not to allow the two would-be carjackers to get away — or to live. According to police, Pierre chased the two men to their car and pumped a barrage of bullets into the vehicle.
Johnson was hit in the midsection. He died at the scene. Lewis was shot in the head and torso. He died at a nearby hospital.
Police arrested Pierre and on Saturday charged him with murder, as well as illegally possessing a weapon. Police say he has not cooperated with their investigation.
All three men involved in the tragic encounter had prior criminal records, though not lengthy ones. In fact, Pierre has the most serious charge on his record, a robbery arrest. He also has a marijuana arrest.
Johnson had a drug arrest and an arrest for driving without a license. Lewis had one arrest, for drugs.
Police say they recovered two guns from the scene of the carjacking just outside of New York City.