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State police believe that Markeace Devant Perkins and Lamar Johnson were shooting at each other when Johnson was fatally hit by gunfire Tuesday outside of a house in Union Township. 

That evidence was based upon shell casings and bullet holes found in two separate vehicles parked there, according to a criminal complaint filed late Wednesday against Perkins, 25, of 509 E. Moody Ave.

Perkins is at large and is sought by the state police in Johnson’s death. The state police major case team has charged him with criminal homicide, prohibited possession of a firearm and possession of a weapon, and District Judge Jerry G. Cartwright has issued a warrant for his arrest.

Johnson, 33, of 105 N. Lee Ave., was lying dead outside of his black Mercedes Benz in a yard at on Grandview Avenue when Union Township police arrived there around 4:50 p.m. Tuesday.

Lawrence County Coroner Rich “R.J.” Johnson pronounced him dead at the scene. An autopsy performed Wednesday afternoon at Heritage Valley Health Center in Beaver revealed that Lamar Johnson died from a gunshot wound to the head, Johnson said. He also had two gunshot wounds to the left leg, but the head wound was fatal, the coroner reported. He has ruled the cause of death as a homicide.

According to a criminal complaint, the Union Township police relinquished the crime scene to the state police, who arrived at the house, where several individuals were inside. A woman who lives there told police later that night that Johnson and her daughter, who is his estranged wife, had arrived at her house in separate vehicles. She said the two were arguing in the house.

Shortly after they left, she heard gunfire outside, and she went outside, where she saw Johnson lying on the ground and Perkins standing next to a black Jeep belonging to Johnson’s estranged wife, holding a long, scoped rifle, the complaint states. Perkins got into the Jeep with the woman’s daughter, and the two left together, the woman said.

The police found empty shell casings and bullet holes in both vehicles, indicating a gunfire exchange between the two men, the complaint states.

The police noted in the complaint that criminal justice records for Perkins show he is prohibited from having a gun.

The Union Township Volunteer Fire Department stood by at the scene to secure the area and close the road.

The state police are asking anyone with additional information about the shooting or Perkins’ whereabout to contact them at (724) 598-2211. 

(Reporter Maria Basileo contributed to this report.)

 dwachter@ncnewsonline.com

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Debbie's been a journalist at the New Castle News since 1978, and covers county government, police and fire, New Castle schools, environment and various other realms. She also writes features, takes photos and video and copy edits.

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