Second shooter to be tried in 2012 murder of East Mt. Airy man

 The scene of the murder. (Bas Slabbers/for NewsWorks, file)

The scene of the murder. (Bas Slabbers/for NewsWorks, file)

A trial now awaits an East Mt. Airy man accused of being the second gunman in the 2012 shooting death of Nafis Armstead.

Aka “Ike” Jones, 24, of the 7500 block of Devon St., is charged with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy, firearms violations and other related offenses. He was arraigned last week.

Jones’ DNA was found on a gun used in the shooting and his palm print was found inside the getaway vehicle, Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney Richard Sax confirmed.

The crime

Three years ago, on a sultry July evening, Armstead and Gerald Jones were gunned down on the 200 block of E. Sharpnack St. in East Mt. Airy.

“They were after Nafis, there’s no doubt about that,” Sax said.

Sax says the second victim was shot only because he was a witness. He survived, but later testified that the gunmen had masked their faces with bandanas.

The perpetrators fled the scene in a green Mercury minivan, which police quickly pursued to the 200 block of Rosemary Lane in West Mt. Airy.

Two men were seen fleeing the van. One of them, Brian Tootle, then age 19, was apprehended by police. He was later convicted of first-degree murder in July 2014 and is currently serving a life sentence without possibility of parole.

Police recovered a Glock 23 semi-automatic pistol from the floor of the van and a discarded .357 caliber revolver just 10 feet away from where Tootle was nabbed.

Jones’ DNA was found on the revolver, which had fired a bullet into Armstead’s head.

Sax said the case against Jones is as strong, if not stronger than the case against Tootle.

“Finding DNA evidence on the gun is even better than a fingerprint,” he said.

A record to match a tattoo

Jones, who sports a tattoo with the words “Bad Guy” on his forehead, was serving a seven-year probation for a 2007 armed robbery.

His probation was in jeopardy of being revoked after being arrested for dealing drugs in 2011. A bench warrant was later issued for his failure to appear in court.

Jones was arrested for firearms possession (unrelated to the 2012 shooting) in June 2014, just two weeks before Tootle’s murder trial. After being arrested, he refused to identify himself and was initially charged as a “John Doe”, Sax said.

Jones was finally arrested in connection with Armstead’s murder in August.

He is scheduled to stand trial for the unrelated firearms offenses in January.

Reaction from victim’s mother

The news of Jones’ arrest and impending trial brings little consolation to the victim’s mother, Sharon Dennis Armstead.

Armstead said the pain of losing her son, who would have turned 26 last month, has not diminished with time.

“I am truly hopeful that these two young men are remorseful,” she said.

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