Update: Johnny Blackshell Jr. pleaded not guilty to the charge of first-degree murder Wednesday, during his arraignment. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Monday, Sept. 21, and Blackwell faces a sentence of life without parole, if convicted of the crime.
The Rochester Police Department has identified 21-year-old Johnny Blackshell Jr. as the primary suspect in the mass shooting, and murder of three people, outside the Genesee St. Boys and Girls Club Aug. 19.
Blackshell was arrested Aug. 24, on charges unrelated to the mass shooting, however, police had declined to identify him at the time, until formal charges were filed in connection with the crime.
Police said Tuesday, Sept. 15, Blackshell has been charged with first-degree murder, relative to three victims, Raekwon Manigault, Jonah Barley, and Johnny Johnson. Blackshell will also be facing federal charges related to other crimes, including a robbery, authorities said.
Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley also said, ultimately, a grand jury could decide to bring other charges against Blackshell, upon hearing the evidence in the case.
According to Doorley, although police are still looking for additional suspects in the crime, the suspect admitted his involvement in the shootings to others, and would be arraigned on the charges in city court, Wednesday.
“This is still an ongoing investigation,” Doorley stated. “We don’t believe that Mr. Blackshell was the only one in that vehicle on Aug. 19, and we will not rest until we have all those involved held accountable.”
Prosecutors said the shooting had likely been based on gang activity, and that Blackshell is currently a member of a gang called “The Maroon Goons.”
According to police, they recovered the car involved in the shooting, as well as one of the possible guns, at the time of Blackshell’s initial arrest.
Blackshell had been on parole for an attempted burglary conviction at the time of his arrest.