A teenager gunned down while visiting his month-old son at a Winburn Drive apartment complex in Lexington on Tuesday night had a longstanding disagreement with the alleged shooter, according to the infant's mother.
Jaleel Raglin, 16, was shot in the head at the Matador North apartment complex across the street from Winburn Middle School. Hours later, police charged Malik Shabazz Johnson, 20, with murder.
Johnson pleaded not guilty in Fayette District Court on Wednesday. He was being held at the Fayette County jail without bond.
Da'Jure Jones, 16, the mother of Jaleel's son, said Wednesday that Jaleel had come to the apartment to visit the baby. Da'Jure had stepped out of the apartment for a few minutes about 8:30 p.m. When she came back inside, Jaleel had been shot.
"They was knocking on my mom's door, and when Jaleel opened it, he shot him," she said.
Da'Jure said there was bad blood between Jaleel and Johnson. She didn't talk about details of the disagreement, but she said she previously had dated both of them.
She and Jaleel recently started dating again, she said.
Police were called to the apartment, which is rented by Da'Jure's mother, at 8:38 p.m. after receiving a report that someone had been shot. Police revealed few details about the investigation that followed.
Within an hour of Jaleel's death, dozens of his friends began posting "R.I.P. Jaleel" and condolences to his family on Twitter. Many of them appeared to have known Chaz Black, a 16-year-old shot during a dice game at a Palumbo Drive apartment in March.
Corey Dunn, a community volunteer working to reduce violence among inner-city youth, said Wednesday that losing two teens to gun violence months apart had stunned the community.
Jaleel and Chaz knew each other, but they were not close, Dunn and Da'Jure said. However, they had many of the same friends.
"The young people that hung out with them are totally tore up," Dunn said. "They're having trouble dealing with this, to the point where they had to bring in extra counselors to the school."
Fayette County public schools spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall said crisis teams counseled students at several schools where Jaleel had attended, including Southern Middle School and Tates Creek, Henry Clay and Bryan Station high schools.
It was the fourth time in a week that Fayette County public schools had to counsel high-school students about the death of a peer. On Sept. 20, Michael Sparks, a Bryan Station freshman, died after crashing an ATV at Eastland Parkway and Anniston Drive. Two Tates Creek High School students died in the past week. One student died in an apparent suicide; a cause of death had not been determined for the other.
Fayette County schools Superintendent Tom Shelton said the recent deaths had shocked students and staff, including members of the crisis team, who are trained to deal with bereavement. It is unusual to have so many deaths in such a short time, he said.
"Sometimes we forget the toll it takes on them, because they obviously care for and love these children very much," he said.
Jaleel was not enrolled in the Fayette County school system at the time of his death, Deffendall said.
Da'Jure said Jaleel had dropped out of school and had gotten involved with a gang, but she said he had been trying to turn his life around since his son was born. She said he was going to get his GED and had recently gotten a job at Penn Station East Coast Subs.
According to Jaleel's Facebook page and a freestyle rap video posted on YouTube, Jaleel had associated with the "East Side Bloods." Photos showed him wearing a red bandanna and holding his hands in a symbol that resembled a lower-case B.
Jaleel had been arrested several times. The last time he got out of jail was the day after his son was born, Da'Jure said.
Things had been different since then because he wanted to set a good example for his child, she said.
"He had talked about how he was going to go to school and get his GED and start doing better things," she said.
She said she knew Jaleel as a "kindhearted" guy who loved making people laugh.
"If it was his last, he would give it to you," she said. "He was just the type, you just loved being around him."
Johnson's family members were in court Wednesday, but they declined to speak with reporters.
Judge Julie Goodman appointed the public defender's office to represent Johnson. Erica Roland, a public defender present during the hearing, said she could not comment on the case because attorneys had not had time to go over the details.
Johnson has a limited criminal history in Lexington and no prior violent crimes recorded in Fayette District and Circuit courts.
He was last arrested Sept. 6 after police found him in possession of a hydrocodone pill and 2 grams of marijuana stored in a shoebox under his 2-week-old son's bed, according to a uniform citation filed in district court.
Johnson "advised that he traffics narcotics in case his job at McDonald's doesn't work out," the citation said.
He pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, all misdemeanors, and was sentenced to serve seven days in jail.
Before that incident, he pleaded guilty in August to disorderly conduct. Police said they contacted Johnson at a home on Ohio Street while Johnson was "visibly upset," according to court records.
Johnson threw his backpack at the front door of the house and shouted curse words, causing "public alarm," the citation said.
Johnson was scheduled to return to court Oct. 2 for a preliminary hearing on the murder charge.
Valarie Honeycutt Spears: (859) 231-3409. Twitter: @vhspears.