Man guilty of attempted murder in drive-by shooting
A man accused of opening fire during a drive-by shooting in Cape Coral has been found guilty of attempted murder.
Justus Divine Pierce, 20, of Fort Myers was found guilty of two counts of attempted second degree murder and one count of shooting at/into a building or an occupied vehicle Friday following a three-day trial in a Lee County court, the State Attorney’s Office said in a release.
The jury delivered a guilty verdict after a short deliberation of just under an hour, officials said.
Pierce was arrested after he stalked two other men in April 2017, driving past the victim’s home off of Hancock Bridge Parkway three times.
After flashing and pointing a gun his first two trips by the residence, Pierce then opened fire on his third pass by.
One of the two victims got away on foot. The other fled in his own vehicle, only to be chased around the city by Pierce.
Upon speeding away from the scene, the victim saw Pierce holding what he believed to be a rifle with a magazine or clip coming from the bottom of it and became in fear for his life, according to the probable cause affidavit.
The victim then called Cape Coral Police while leading his assailant towards the department headquarters. He was met by officers and detectives near the station for his safety.
Pierce, realizing his proximity to the police station, broke-off his pursuit.
The Major Crimes Unit’s subsequent investigation led to Pierce’s arrest. He was taken into custody the next day by the Cape Coral Police Department’s U.S. Marshals Task Force liaison detective.
“We are enormously proud of the work done by our Major Crimes Unit detectives, patrol officers, Forensics personnel, dispatchers, and everyone who worked diligently on this case to not only produce a quick arrest and preserve lives, but did so in a thorough and professional manner that resulted in this conviction yesterday. A dangerous man will be off the streets for a long time because of the work done by all of them and by our partners at the State Attorney’s Office,” said CCPD spokesperson Cpl. Phil Mullen.
According to the affidavit, the victim believed he was a target because of testimony he gave that helped police in the prosecution of one of Pierce’s friends. There was believed to be a $700 “hit” out for the victim.
Pierce was in possession of a .45 caliber handgun, and an SKS assault rifle which he was going to use to “wipe them out,” the affidavit states.
Pierce told police he leaned out of his Chevy S10 truck and fired five shots at the victim with the .45 caliber hand gun. When asked his intent, Pierce stated, “I have been trained. When I shoot, I shoot to kill.”
Pierce was previously arrested in 2015 for aggravated battery with a firearm, reportedly during a marijuana transaction. That charge was later dropped.
Pierce faces up to 75 years in prison for his actions last April. His sentencing will be held at a later date.