Lexington police have charged a man accused of shooting a Georgetown pastor who was driving on Georgetown Road three weeks ago.
Mekale Edward Turpin, 18, is charged with first-degree wanton endangerment and first-degree assault. He was already being held in Fayette County jail on unrelated charges when police charged him with shooting Associate Pastor Harry Hargis of Gano Baptist Church.
Hargis was heading outbound on Georgetown Road on April 6 when a stray bullet burst through his windshield and tore into his upper lip, breaking his jaw and knocking out a tooth. He was taken to the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital where he was treated and released the next day.
Lexington police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said Turpin was charged Monday. They were led to him in part from tips from the public, she said. Evidence corroborates officers' initial statements that Hargis "was an unintended target," she said.
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Roberts said she could not say why Turpin allegedly fired the gun. Witnesses told police the shooter fired five or six shots from the parking lot of a convenience store. The bullet that hit Hargis traveled about a block before hitting his windshield.
Turpin was arrested on April 7, the day after Hargis' shooting, for violating the conditions of a court-ordered release, said Sgt. Jennifer Taylor, a spokeswoman for the jail.
He is accused of two armed robberies last year, one on Feb. 20 and one on March 30, according to court documents. Those crimes were committed when Turpin was a juvenile.
According to court documents, Turpin was released from jail on an unsecured bond on Dec. 20. It wasn't immediately clear what he had done to violate the conditions of that release.
Turpin pleaded not guilty in Fayette District Court on Tuesday. A preliminary hearing in his case is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. May 5.
Turpin declined to be interviewed from the Fayette County Detention Center.