Murder suspect faces judge for basketball tournament shooting

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Roosevelt Holmes, 23, appeared in court July 13, 2015.

HARTFORD — The suspect in the shooting of a bystander at a busy youth basketball tournament was arraigned on a murder charge Monday.

Roosevelt Holmes, 23, of Windsor, was initially charged with criminal possession of a firearm, criminal attempt at assault in the first degree, assault in the first degree, reckless endangerment in the first degree and discharge of a firearm after he admitted to opening fire at the June tournament. The charge of assault in the first degree was changed to a murder charge after police determined that the bullet that killed James Headen came from Holmes’ firearm.

The shooting happened at a youth basketball tournament near the Sarah Rawson School on Holcomb Street on June 27. According to his arrest warrant, Holmes told police that it started after an unknown man approached him and stole his designer sunglasses. Holmes said the man then pulled a gun on him, shooting him in the leg.

Holmes admitted to pulling his gun from his “fanny pack” and firing four to five shots at the person who was shooting at him. Holmes’ arrest warrant states that he, “tried to follow him as he was moving around in the crowd and he (Holmes) was still pointing and shooting the gun only at the person who shot at him.”

James Headen, 41, of Hartford, was fatally shot in the head. The two other people were shot, Justin Jones, 23, of Hartford, who was shot in the hip and Shawn Patterson, 24, of Hartford, who was shot in the hand, are expected to recover.

In July, police determined that the bullet projectiles found in Headen’s body matched bullets from the gun that Holmes had in his possession.

Police also recovered shell-casings from two different guns at the scene. Holmes’ defense attorney, Gerald Klein, argues that fact supports his client’s claims of self-defense.

“A self-defense claim, even with an illegal weapon, is valid if accepted by a jury,” Klein said.

Holmes’ new bond was set at $1.75 million.