Men were ‘shorted’ on drugs before killing near Lansdowne, Lexington police testify

Rafael Brewster, left, Jah’Quez Crutchfield, center, and Moses Thompson
Rafael Brewster, left, Jah’Quez Crutchfield, center, and Moses Thompson Lexington Police Department

When three Georgetown residents were ‘shorted’ in a Lexington drug transaction earlier this month, the alleged dealer was shot and killed in Lexington, a police officer said in testimony Friday.

Nathaniel Shelby, 19, died Sept. 7 at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital after being shot at an East Reynolds Road apartment Sept. 3.

Two of the suspects, 20-year-old Rafael Malik Brewster and 18-year-old Moses Thompson, appeared in Fayette County District Court Friday for a preliminary hearing, and Lexington police detective Brandon Gibbs outlined their alleged involvement in the incident.

A third suspect, Jah’Quez Crutchfield, 18, remains in the Scott County jail on an unrelated charge. Crutchfield and Brewster are each charged with Shelby’s murder, while Thompson is accused of facilitation to murder.

The three suspects and Shelby met at a restaurant for a drug transaction, Gibbs testified. When the three men realized they were “shorted” on the drugs Gibbs didn’t identify, they drove to the Reynolds Road apartment near Lansdowne Drive, where one of the suspects knew Shelby lived, Gibbs testified. He said the information came from Thompson.

Gibbs said surveillance video showed the suspects at the restaurant before they leave, exiting toward the apartment. The name of the restaurant wasn’t released.

Thompson told police that he drove to and from the drug transaction and confrontation at the Reynolds Road apartment, Gibbs said. Thompson was aware a robbery was going to occur at the location, according to Gibbs.

Brewster told police the group went to the apartment to get their property back, the Lexington police detective said.

After the other two suspects left the car, Thompson heard “two bangs” and Crutchfield and Brewster returned to the vehicle, according to Gibbs.

A physical assault occurred before Shelby was shot, Gibbs testified. Brewster later told police that he asked the group to leave their firearms in Thompson’s vehicle. However, witnesses said they saw multiple people with handguns, Gibbs said.

“(Brewster) said, ‘It was never meant to happen the way it did,’” Gibbs testified.

When police arrived, they found a witness giving CPR to Shelby, who sustained a single gunshot wound to the head, police said. The suspects had already fled and were returning to Georgetown, Gibbs said.

Shelby’s homicide is one of 16 this year in Lexington and three that have occurred this month, according to Lexington police data. Fourteen of the homicides have been from gunfire.

Judge John Tackett found probable cause for the case to be sent to the grand jury, which will review the charges.