Grand jury indicts 18-year-old, four juveniles in fatal shooting of East Nashville man

Friday, August 10, 2007 at 3:19pm

A Davidson County grand jury on Friday issued first-degree murder and aggravated robbery indictments against five members of an unnamed Nashville street gang for the March 11 shooting death of Jose Flores, who was shot in the back while hosting a cookout at his Joseph Avenue home.

All but one of the defendants is still a juvenile. But all – Christopher Northern, 18, William Allen Sawyers, 17, Terrance Simpson, 16, Antwan Whitehead, 16, and Chrisantoney Woods, 16 – are being treated as adults.

Northern, Simpson, Whitehead and Woods have remained in jail since their arrests by members of the Metro Police Department’s Gang Unit, who confirmed their affiliation with one of Nashville’s black gangs and apprehended them during a weekend sweep of known gang hangouts around the city.

Sawyers, who police believe is responsible for firing the shot that killed Flores, surrendered himself to police days later.

In May, a Juvenile Court judge determined that all should be tried as adults. And since that time all have remained in the Metro jail on bonds at $190,000 each.

In addition to being indicted for Flores’ murder, all were indicted on one count of aggravated robbery and especially aggravated attempted robbery, as well as five additional counts of attempted robbery.

Police described the May 11 incident as a “crime of opportunity,” in which the defendants allegedly attempted to hold up and rob Flores and a number of his out-of-town guests as he was hosting a cookout in his yard.

The defendants – all armed and masked, police said – allegedly forced everyone into the house and attempted to collect car keys, wallets and jewelry before fleeing.

As they were exiting the house, police said Sawyers fired at least one gunshot back toward the house, which entered through a window and struck Flores in the back.

Flores, 30, died during surgery hours later.

An arraignment date has not yet been set for Northern, Simpson, Whitehead, Woods and Sawyers.

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