HOUSTON – A man was sentenced to 38 years in prison Monday evening after a jury found him guilty in the 2015 shooting death of a man police say was a rival gang member.
Jonathan Rawlins is accused of shooting and killing Ernest Moore, 21, and wounding another person in May 2015 during a fight outside the Chancellors Family Center.
Tension ran high inside a Houston courtroom during the murder trial involving the alleged gang member.
More than 100 people packed the room which holds only 85.
Early in the trial, an argument broke out between the opposing sides, which resulted in the courtroom being cleared and security being beefed up. Some of the security guards said it was one of the most intense courtrooms they’d ever been in.
Officers said the May altercation started with a fist fight at a pool party hosted by a group of entertainers. Police said rival gang members showed up, and someone pulled out a gun.
According to officers, a teenager was seen running away from the fight, but the shooter chased him down and fired several rounds.
"If he was trying to run away, he was trying to get someplace safe," close family friend of the teen Yvonne Wridley said.
Officers said Moore was hit multiple times and died at the scene.
An 18-year-old woman who was an innocent bystander was shot in the leg. She was taken to Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital where she was treated and released. Officers said Rawlins fled the scene.
Rawlins was later arrested and charged.