Norfolk prosecutors withdrew attempted murder and grand theft charges Monday against a man who was shot by Portsmouth police in a cemetery after officers said he drove a stolen car toward a detective.
But Malachi Elliot will still face a felony gun charge filed in connection with the July incident.
Elliot, 19, initially was charged with attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, grand larceny and being a violent felon with a gun after the July 22 incident at Riverside Memorial Park in Norfolk. He was shot seven times during the incident and has been jailed without bond since being released from a hospital.
Norfolk Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jack Bondurant told District Judge Jamilah LeCruise at the start of Monday’s preliminary hearing his office was withdrawing the attempted murder and theft charges but keeping the gun count in place. The judge certified the gun charge, meaning the case will now be sent to a grand jury for consideration.
A spokeswoman for the Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office said the other two charges were withdrawn due to insufficient evidence. If Elliot is convicted of the gun count, state law requires he serve a minimum of five years. Elliot previously was convicted of robbery as a juvenile, Bondurant said.
Portsmouth Detective A.B. Vanderslice told the judge the incident began in Portsmouth as he and some other officers in unmarked vehicles were following a stolen BMW that had been involved in a carjacking. One of the men in the vehicle, Cedric Davis Jr., was a suspect in the carjacking, he said.
After the car pulled into the cemetery, Elliot got out, walked over to a gravesite, and then got into the driver’s seat, Vanderslice said. The officers turned on their lights and sirens and were attempting to stop the vehicle when Elliot drove toward him, he said. Vanderslice was standing in front of one of the unmarked cars at the time.
Elliot was shot as he was driving. It wasn’t clear during Monday’s hearing if Vanderslice — or some of the other officers — fired the shots. Police recovered a loaded 9mm gun from Elliot afterward, the detective said.
Prosecutors believe Elliot is a member of the 600 gang and was at the cemetery to visit the grave of a deceased gang member, Bondurant told the judge.
Defense attorney Lania Herman asked LeCruise to grant Elliot bail so that he could get surgery on his arm. Elliot was shot twice in the chest and multiple times in his hands and arm, she said, with the injury to his arm being the most serious. The judge declined the request.
Jane Harper, email@example.com