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Prosecutors: Driver of vehicle involved in crash during pursuit dropped off shooter who hurt 3 teens

Marcellus Purifoy

Marcellus Purifoy

MILWAUKEE -- Prosecutors said a 17-year-old boy admitted he was driving a vehicle that fled police after a shooting that injured three teenagers Thursday, April 18. That vehicle was later involved in a crash that led to the death of one of his passengers, and injuries to two innocent victims.

Police announced on Tuesday evening, April 23 a 14-year-old boy was charged with reckless endangerment of safety for the triple shooting near 36th and Courtland that preceded the pursuit and crash. The boy was arrested at the scene of the shooting that injured a 13-year-old girl, a 14-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl.

Marcellus Purifoy of Milwaukee faces three charges in connection with the pursuit and crash:

  • Vehicle operator flee/elude officer, resulting in death of another
  • Vehicle operator flee/elude officer, resulting in bodily harm -- two counts
  • Knowingly operating while revoked -- causing the death of another

According to a criminal complaint, on April 18, uniformed and undercover officers were conducting a sweep of known offenders committing violent offenses in Milwaukee, and during the sweep, officers learned ofthe triple shooting near 36th and Courtland. The officers learned one of the individuals that was a subject in their sweep had GPS monitoring that showed that person was at the scene around the time the shooting occurred. A search began for that person.

An MPD sergeant soon spotted a blue Hyundai Accent headed northbound on 44th Street at a high rate of speed -- disregarding a stop sign near 44th and North, turning east onto North Avenue. The sergeant activated his lights and sirens and saw that the Hyundai began to weave through traffic before reaching Sherman Boulevard, where it turned south and sped away.

Crash at 40th and North after pursuit

The complaint said the Hyundai reached speeds of approximately 60 miles per hour through traffic on Sherman, turning southwest on Lisbon -- where it swerved back and forth. It turned east on Brown Street and then north on 40th -- which is a one-way street for southbound traffic. The Hyundai was traveling the wrong way -- increasing its speed to 65 to 75 miles per hour as it traveled in the wrong direction.

Crash at 40th and North after pursuit

According to the complaint, the vehicle did not appear to be slowing down as it approached 40th and North. The sergeant indicated if traffic was heavier on North Avenue, he planned to terminate the pursuit if the Hyundai did not stop at the intersection. The Hyundai sped through the intersection and was struck by a yellow school bus (containing one victim, a juvenile, who suffered a dislocated left elbow). The Hyundai was struck on the driver's side, and whipped around, striking a truck (containing one person who suffered a laceration to his forehead and pain to his left hip). The Hyundai suffered severe damage.

Crash at 40th and North after pursuit

Another officer said during the pursuit, the Hyundai was recklessly swerving around vehicles and operating in the bicycle lane, kicking up dust. This officer stated he never observed brake lights on the Hyundai.

There were four people in the Hyundai. The complaint said Marcellus Purifoy was the driver. He was found unconscious at the scene. The front passenger also appeared unconscious. The rear driver's side passenger was unconscious and slumped over. He was pulled out of the vehicle, and determined to be Larenzo Jones. The 18-year-old later died as a result of his injuries, according to the medical examiner. The complaint said Jones suffered severe head trauma from blunt force trauma as a result of the crash.

Crash at 40th and North after pursuit

According to the complaint, Purifoy admitting he was driving the Hyundai. He said before the crash, he had driven the Hyundai to a location at which one of the occupants of the vehicle had shot out of the vehicle. He said after the shooting, he drove south on 36th Street for a few blocks, at which point the shooter exited the vehicle -- leaving Purifoy inside with his three passengers. Purifoy said he then took off from the scene, but claimed he had no idea the police were after him. He said he did see police vehicles coming toward him, but he kept going and didn't remember which route he took.

Triple shooting near 36th and Courtland in Milwaukee

Triple shooting near 36th and Courtland in Milwaukee

Police said the shooting victims near 36th and Courtland, a 13-year-old girl, a 14-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl suffered injuries not believed to be life-threatening.

"I'm hurting. I'm totally hurt by the situation," said Frank Nitty, father of the shooting victims in a news conference on Friday, April 19. "13 years old, 14 years old, you don't need to be exposed to those kind of things in life. The violence in our community with our youth is out of control."

The complaint said Purifoy has never had a driver's license, and his license status was revoked in November 2017 due to his commission of a felony using a vehicle at the juvenile court level. That revocation was in effect at the time of the crash.

FOX6 News stopped by Purifoy's listed address on Tuesday. The person who answered the door did not want to comment.

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