Court records detail Morris Jones' criminal journey from Tulsa to Phoenix

Morris Richard Jones III told authorities he always had guns, even when he knew he wasn’t supposed to. Even after he went to prison in Oklahoma on a stolen vehicle charge in 2004, Jones didn't give up guns.

He admitted trading crack for guns in Tulsa, scoring a rifle and a handgun and a federal prison stint.

He adopted a childhood nickname given to him by his grandfather: Petey Gunn.

He never was charged with gun violence. But on Friday morning, he died by the gun. Police said 36-year-old Jones initiated a violent standoff in a southwest Phoenix neighborhood that left nine officers injured and one woman dead.

Five officers were shot and four others were injured by shrapnel.

Later, when police entered the house, they found Jones dead from a gunshot wound and a woman critically wounded. The woman, Shatifah Lobley, died from her injuries. Police later clarified in a Feb. 25 update that Lobley had been found dead inside the home.

In the hours after the shooting, Phoenix police could not provide answers as to why, only what. And even that wasn't much.

Police released Jones' name Friday afternoon but provided no information about him.

The Arizona Republic reviewed state and federal court records in Arizona and Oklahoma of a man with the same first, middle and last name and who was the same age as the person police called “the shooter.”

Those records offer only sketchy details of Jones' past as the father of four and a self-described member of the Crips street gang. But they paint a clear picture of his criminal journey from Tulsa to Phoenix.

His mugshot from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections in 2004, when Jones was still a teenager, shows him in a bland khaki jumpsuit against a bland khaki wall. His hair and goatee are trimmed close.

The statistics accompanying the picture describe him as 5-foot-3, 172 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. His arm, with the large “107” tattoo declaring his membership in the Hoover Crips Gang, is not visible.

Phoenix police shooting and standoff: What we know now

Records say Jones was sentenced to a three-year term on the stolen vehicle charge. He was released in 2005 after one year. But he continued to bounce in and out of custody.

Court records show later in 2005, Jones fled from police during a raid on a house and officers said they saw him ditch a baggie of marijuana. In 2006, police said he was the victim of a drive-by shooting but he refused to cooperate in the investigation.

Three times in 2006, Tulsa police said, Jones fled in vehicles from officers.

Morris Richard Jones III in a 2004 photo.
Morris Richard Jones III in a 2004 photo.

The first time, the car they were chasing slowed long enough for the passenger to get out. Police said the passenger was stopped with a baggie of cocaine and a gun. The passenger was a 12-year-old boy. He said Jones gave him the drugs and gun. Jones got away.

The second time, police said Jones jumped out of the vehicle he was driving. The passenger, another Hoover Crips member, told police Jones was carrying a silver semiautomatic handgun. Jones got away.

The third time Jones didn't get away, court records show.

Federal agents went to his apartment to execute a search warrant. They were looking for guns and drugs. They said he spotted them, took off running and drove off in a car. Tulsa police followed and called in a helicopter. Jones couldn’t outrun them.

Just before his arrest, officers said he ditched a loaded gun. They said he resisted arrest, so they pepper sprayed him.

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Jones still had the empty holster on his waistband when they put handcuffs on him, court records show. Inside Jones’ apartment, agents found a .22 caliber revolver and bullets, lots of them, for various weapons.

Jones was charged as a felon in possession of a firearm. A Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent said Jones agreed to be interviewed and right away proclaimed, “I’m guilty.”

Jones told agents he was trading crack cocaine for guns, ATF Agent Josh Petree wrote in a 2006 affidavit.

“Before he was arrested he was on his way to purchase more ‘crack’ to sell with the $100 he had in his pocket,” Petree wrote.

“Jones further advised that he had obtained his nickname (Petey Gunn) from his grandfather when he was young and that he has always liked and had guns even though he knew he was a convicted felon and was not supposed to have them,” Petree wrote.

A grand jury indicted Jones in 2007. He first said he wanted to take the case to trial but later pleaded guilty. A judge gave him back-to-back sentences; 60 months on one charge, 20 months on another.

Jones argued in 2008 that he got a raw deal and asked the court to set aside his convictions. His first appeal failed, and he tried again in 2009. He argued that under the law, he was "innocent of the crime he pled guilty to because the trading of drugs for a gun does not constitute 'use' of the gun."

The U.S. Court of Appeals disagreed. Jones served his sentence and was released on probation in 2014, but not for long.

At the scene: Graphic video captures Phoenix police standoff

Drugs kept getting him into trouble.

For two years Jones alternated between probation and prison because of his drug use. In 2016, a judge ordered him to prison for four years. Records show he was released in 2019.

In between prison stints, Jones fathered four children, now approximately 7, 9, 15 and 18 years old, court records show.

The Republic has reached out to Jones' family for comment but has not received a response.

It's unclear why Jones moved to Phoenix or exactly when. He was living here in 2020 when he was arrested on suspicion of transporting undocumented immigrants from Mexico into the United States.

Border Patrol agents stopped Jones and a woman in a Ford F-150 near San Simon in Cochise County, court records show. There were three passengers in the back seat who told agents they were from Mexico and Peru.

The woman told agents Jones had agreed to pick up the undocumented immigrants and take them to a prearranged location in Phoenix. Jones pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge and was given a conditional release pending sentencing.

In July 2020, Jones asked the court for permission to travel to Tulsa for a birthday party. He wanted to celebrate there with his four children. A judge said OK.

A month later, Jones dodged prison. He was sentenced to 36 months' probation on the smuggling charge. He was free for less than a year.

In May, Jones tested positive for cocaine and was back in front of the judge. In September, Jones was sentenced to serve five months in prison followed by three years' probation.

It was not immediately clear when Jones was released. But it wasn't long before he picked up a gun again. For the last time.

Robert Anglen is an investigative reporter. Reach him at or 602-444-8694. Follow him on Twitter @robertanglen.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Phoenix police shooter Morris Jones' criminal past in court records