Criminal Justice News

Saturday, August 24, 2013

U.S. Marshals Capture Suspect Wanted for Multiple Pittsburgh Murders

Pittsburgh, PA – U.S. Marshal Steve Frank announces the arrest of Pittsburgh Police homicide suspect James Lawrence. Lawrence was apprehended this morning at approximately 10:50 am following a brief foot chase by members of the United States Marshals Western Pennsylvania Fugitive Task Force as he fled from officers attempting to arrest him. Lawrence, age 21, and co-defendant Michael Lyons, age 22, were originally charged by the Pittsburgh Police Department with Criminal Homicide, Conspiracy-Criminal Homicide and Firearms not to be Carried without a License, in the shooting death of Steven Lee Jr. of McKees Rocks on March 30, 2013. Lee was shot multiple times after he was pulled from a party bus which was stopped at Chartiers Avenue and Universal Street in the Sheraden Section of Pittsburgh. Lyons was captured by the Marshals’ Fugitive Task Force on May 21, 2013 pursuant to those charges.

Lawrence was also wanted on a second homicide warrant for his alleged involvement in a February, 2013 Beeltzhoover shooting. In that particular case, Lawrence and co-defendant Dorian Peebles, age 22, were both charged by the Pittsburgh Police Department on June 7, 2013, with Criminal Homicide, Conspiracy-Criminal Homicide, Carrying a Firearm without a License, Aggravated Assault and Recklessly Endangering another Person following a lengthy investigation into the shooting death of Tiona Jackson on East Warrington Avenue. A second victim was shot multiple times during this incident and later recovered from his injuries. Like Lyons, Peebles was apprehended by the Marshals’ Fugitive Task Force pursuant to these charges on June 12, 2013.

As task force officers attempted to arrest Lawrence this morning at a residence in the 7000 block of Chaucer Street in Pittsburgh, he ran out the back door where he scaled a chain link fence, wearing a bullet proof vest, before being captured by officers outside a residence in the 1500 block of North Murtland Street.

Investigators recovered a sizable amount of suspected crack cocaine and approximately $700.00 in U.S. currency during a search incident to arrest. Task Force members also recovered an assault rifle from the residence where Lawrence fled from.

Marshal Frank stated “…that the Task Force has arrested nearly 500 violent fugitives in the past year, but this was one of the most significant arrests of year. Lawrence was believed to be a serious threat to the community.”

The U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force is comprised of officers from the Pennsylvania State Police, Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, Allegheny County Sheriffs and Westmoreland County Sheriffs. These agencies, along with the United States Attorney’s Office, are participating members of the U.S. Marshals Western Pennsylvania Fugitive Task Force (WPAFTF).

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