LUBBOCK, Texas– A Lubbock man was arrested Wednesday and remained in the Lubbock County Detention Center Thursday after a warrant said he was connected to a gang-related shooting that occurred in February.
Latravian Brantley, 18, was one of three suspects Lubbock Police searched for after a report of shots fired at the South Plains Mall.
According to witnesses on the scene, James Childress, 19, was in a white Impala with Brantley, when they approached a suspect (who was not identified by name in the warrant) near the northwest entrance to the mall.
Childress and Brantley got out of the Impala and began to “have words” with the suspect.
The suspect “drew a handgun” and fired at Brantley and Childress.
Witnesses also told police Brantley and Childress returned gunfire to the suspect before getting back in their vehicle and driving off.
The suspect ran away, but he was not located by Lubbock Police, according to the warrant.
It turns out, the shooting at the mall was tied to the shooting death of Christopher Jolly.
According to investigators, several shell casings were found near the area of the shooting, and there was some damage to the mall’s brick wall.
According to Texas Anti-Gang Unit investigators, Childress’ mother let him borrow her vehicle the day of the mall shooting.
TAG investigators referred to Childress as a “Crip,” and said he was also associated with a local, hybrid street gang called “Taliban.”
Childress said he was at the mall and saw his “nephew” and they “had words.”
Furthermore, Childress said his nephew’s girlfriend, who was in the vehicle with him, handed him a gun, and he “started to shoot,” according to the warrant.
In May, investigators tried to get Childress to give more information on Brantley because they did not have a description of Brantley, who was already in jail on an unrelated offense.
According to investigators, Childress’ mother said the shooting may have been gang-related due to the shooting of his best friend, Chris Jolly.
In May 2020, police were called to the 2600 block of East Baylor for a shots-fired call. When officers arrived on the scene, Jolly was located on the ground bleeding.
He was taken to University Medical Center, where he died of his injuries, according to police.
RELATED STORY: Christopher Jolly ordered out of vehicle at gunpoint, gunned down as he tried to run, warrant says
In March, a Lubbock County Sheriff’s Deputy stopped a Mercury Marquis for a traffic stop and located Brantley as the passenger in the vehicle.
Brantley was arrested in connection to the mall shooting, but he refused to cooperate with investigators, according to the warrant.
It was not until later in the month that Childress gave investigators Brantley’s name, but he referred to him as “Tra” or “Marcus.”
Brantley was not arrested until Wednesday. It was not immediately clear what led to his arrest.
He was booked into jail on a charge of deadly conduct with a firearm.
Childress remained in the jail since he cooperated with investigators in April on charges of aggravated robbery, possession of marijuana, tampering/fabricating evidence, evading arrest and deadly conduct with a firearm.