PHOENIX – A pair of gang members are facing lengthy prison terms following their convictions yesterday on multiple felony counts related to a shooting that occurred outside a Tempe nightclub in March, 2012. Bryston Ware (D.O.B. 4/19/1990) and Raynon Keswun Jones (D.O.B. 3/4/1993) were accused of firing a hail of bullets into a crowd of patrons waiting to attend a performance by rapper Nipsey Hussle at The Clubhouse Music Venue on East Broadway Road in Tempe.
“The jury’s verdicts are a welcome and just response to a crime that injured many people and put the lives of others at risk,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “We now look forward to the imposition of an appropriate sentence that will prevent these defendants from causing further harm to the community,” he added.
Ware and Jones went to The Clubhouse on the night of March 2, 2012 along with other members of a documented criminal street gang. The group got into a verbal altercation with a rival gang member and opened fire, striking 12 innocent people and endangering others who were standing in line to attend that night’s performance. The rival gang member returned fire and hit Ware and three others who were with him. Ware and Jones were apprehended by Tempe police as they tried to leave the parking lot of the venue.
On October 12, 2012, the Grand Jurors of Maricopa County indicted Ware, Jones and a third suspect, Benjamin Lloyd Johnson, with 12 counts of aggravated assault, 8 counts of endangerment plus one count each of leading or participating in a criminal street gang and assisting a criminal street gang. Johnson was tried separately and acquitted on all counts on February 20, 2014.
After a six-and-a-half week trial, Ware and Jones were found guilty on all counts except for one of the aggravated assault counts, which resulted in a directed verdict of acquittal after the victim could not be located to testify. Each defendant faces a minimum sentence of 10 years on each of the other 11 counts of aggravated assault, all of which were found by the jury to be dangerous based on aggravating factors. Ware and Jones are scheduled to be sentenced on November 7, 2014.