Gun found in SUV tied to scene of fatal shooting of Asiyanna Jones


PITTSFIELD — Police have arrested a city man who ran from officers, allegedly dropping a bloodstained sweatshirt, shortly after last week's fatal shooting of Asiyanna Jones.

And they recovered a loaded 9 mm handgun in the vehicle he ran from — a dark-colored SUV that police believe was present at Jones' shooting on Dewey Avenue as well as a shooting on Robbins Avenue less than two hours later.

Justin D. Crawford, 20, was picked up on a warrant about 6:15 p.m. Monday near Dalton Avenue. He is facing drug and weapons charges; he has not been charged in Jones' shooting.

Court documents in the case provide the first few public details regarding the investigation into Jones' death.

About 10:44 p.m. Oct. 2, police responded to reports of shots fired on Dewey Avenue. Jones was found inside a 2011 BMW, suffering from a gunshot to the head. The BMW had two bullet holes in its windshield.

Jones was taken to Berkshire Medical Center, then to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, where she was pronounced dead about 4 a.m. Oct. 3. The state medical examiner ruled her death a homicide on Oct. 4.  

Witnesses told police there was an altercation on Dewey Avenue just before the shooting, and they identified vehicles involved as the BMW and a dark-colored SUV. They said the SUV left the scene immediately after the shots were fired.

About 12:30 a.m. Oct. 3, officers at the scene of the Dewey Avenue shooting reported hearing more shots fired in the area. Moments later, two women approached police at the scene and said they had been followed as they left BMC, where they had been checking on Jones' condition.

The women told police they heard three or four gunshots as they were driving onto Robbins Avenue. Their vehicle was not hit.

They described the vehicle as a dark-colored Jeep SUV with tinted windows and fog lights.

Moments later, a vehicle matching that description, with two men near it, was seen by police on Cherry Street.

Police approached the vehicle and recognized Crawford, who was standing at the driver's-side door wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with white markings. When officers approached, Crawford ran.

Officers followed his route and found a discarded cellphone and, during a search, found a sweatshirt believed to be the one police had seen Crawford wearing. The shirt appeared to have two fresh bloodstains on its front, police said.

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The Jeep, which is not registered to Crawford, was seized as evidence. Police believe it might have been involved in both shootings.

The registered owner told police she had last driven the vehicle between 7 and 8 p.m. the night before. She said she didn't realize it wasn't parked in front of her home and did not know who had driven it.

After obtaining a search warrant, police found a 9 mm handgun on the front passenger seat and wrapped in a black shirt.

The gun's magazine, which had a capacity of 17 rounds, had two rounds in it. There was one round in the chamber.

The serial number had been defaced by scratches, making it unreadable.

Two 9 mm shell casings were found in the road in the area of the second shooting.

A warrant was issued Oct. 5 for Crawford's arrest on weapons charges.

Police saw Crawford in a white Nissan about 6:15 p.m. Monday, when it was parked in a lot near Dalton Avenue and Westminster Street. He was taken into custody and, during a search, police found about 2 grams of crack cocaine, $765 in cash and two oxycodone pills.

Crawford pleaded not guilty in Central Berkshire District Court on Wednesday to charges of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of oxycodone, improper storage of a large-capacity firearm, carrying a firearm without a license, possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number during the commission of a felony and possession of a firearm with a large-capacity magazine.

Crawford's attorney, Ryan Smith, argued to have bail set at $2,500, noting that there were questions surrounding Crawford's identification and whether he had knowledge of or access to the gun found by police.

But Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Anthony Giarolo asked for bail of $25,000 on the weapons charges and set an additional $500 bail on the drug charges, which Judge Paul Smyth obliged.

Crawford is due back in court Nov. 11 for a pretrial hearing.

Reach staff writer Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249 or @BobDunn413 on Twitter.


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