DAYTON — Five teens accused of crimes connected to the shooting death of a Lyft driver and a separate carjacking involving another Lyft driver that led to a standoff appeared in court Thursday afternoon.
The Lyft driver who died was identified as Brandon Cooper, 35, of Beavercreek.
All five teens had denials entered by the judge in the case, which is the equivalent of a not guilty plea in adult court. The teens were ordered to continue being held in the Montgomery County Juvenile Detention Center.
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Dayton Police Lt. Jason Hall said the violence started around 1 a.m. Wednesday, after police received a 911 call involving a Lyft driver being carjacked at gunpoint on St. Agnes Avenue. The female Lyft driver was able to run to a nearby house, where the resident called 911, according to a 911 call obtained by News Center 7.
About an hour later, police were called to the 1000 block of Ferguson Avenue and found Cooper dead after he’d been shot and crashed into another car, Hall said.
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“The (method of operation) that was being used was to summon a rideshare and then during the transaction robbed the driver,” Hall said.
Hall added investigators believe the juveniles were also attempting to rob the 35-year-old driver when he was shot and killed.
Hall said police were able to link the cases throughout the early morning hours.
The two crime scene were located just a few blocks apart.
The investigation eventually led investigators to a home in the 300 block of Anna Street, where the vehicle stolen on St. Agnes Avenue was found. Multiple people were inside the house and refused to come out, so SWAT officers were called.
Police said on Wednesday that four teens, between the ages of 15 and 16, were taken into custody during the standoff. Those four were charged with two counts of aggravated robbery and one count of murder, Hall said. A fifth teen appeared in court Thursday on two counts of robbery connected to the crimes.
Police conducted a search warrant at the Anna Street house after the standoff and found “additional evidence linking these individuals to both incidents,” Hall said. A weapon believed to be used in both crimes was recovered inside the house, he said.
A spokesman for Lyft called the killing Cooper “reprehensible.”
“Our hearts are with the driver’s loved ones during this incredibly difficult time, as well as with an additional driver who was impacted by this behavior,” the spokesman for Lyft said. “We’ve reached out to law enforcement to offer our assistance with their investigation, and we’ll continue our efforts to combat this senseless violence and help keep drivers safe.”
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