Chesterfield man convicted for role in firing on car with woman, 3 kids inside
Petersburg plea deal calls for active term of four years
A Chesterfield County man accused with two associates of opening fire on a Petersburg mother’s car with three children inside in an act of mistaken retribution has pleaded guilty to six felonies for his role in the shooting two years ago Thursday.
In a plea agreement, Rashaun D. Bradley, 27, pleaded guilty in Petersburg Circuit Court to one count each of conspiracy to commit murder and possession of a firearm by a felon, and four counts of attempted murder.
Authorities say Bradley and two associates — Damon L. White, 30, and Rodney E. Harris, 28 — opened fire on a car occupied by Christine Wesson, who was driving with her 4- and 8-year-old daughters and 3-year-old nephew when they came under attack from the masked gunmen about 10 p.m. on Dec. 6, 2016.
Her white sedan — which the suspects mistakenly believed was the vehicle of their intended target — was struck six to eight times by gunfire, but neither she nor the children were hit or injured.
The three men were looking to even the score “for another act of violence that happened somewhere else involving one of Mr. Bradley’s folks,” said Petersburg Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Ken Blalock.
“So they go out looking for a particular white sedan,” Blalock said. “[But] they found the wrong car in the same neighborhood. So basically she was a victim of circumstance, by happening to drive the same make and model of white sedan in the wrong part of town.”
After escaping the gunfire, Wesson streamed a Facebook live video from the scene in the aftermath of the shooting. “They just shot up my car with me and my kids in it,” she said in her Facebook video, after managing to drive away and flag down Petersburg police officers.
Blalock provided this summary of the shooting:
Wesson had stopped on St. James Street and “was waiting on a friend to come out of the house” when she noticed the suspects’ car across the street.
When the car’s interior light came on after one of the men opened a door, Wesson recognized Bradley, with whom she was acquainted.
“She didn’t have any problem with him before and didn’t think much of it until she saw him passing a gun to this guy in the back seat,” Blalock said.
The man who received the gun, Rodney Harris, then got out of the car along with Damon White, who was also armed, and within moments both men opened fire on Wesson’s vehicle.
“She hits the gas and takes off, and shots hit her car but blessedly nobody’s hurt — just scared out of their wits,” Blalock said.
Although Bradley didn’t fire any shots, he was convicted of attempted murder by aiding or abetting the others, or acting as a principal in the second degree. To be found guilty, a defendant does not have to participate in the specific act, but the evidence must show the defendant was present, actually or constructively, and assisting in the crime.
He is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 5. Under terms of his plea agreement, he will receive a four-year active prison term with several decades of suspended time.
Harris pleaded guilty March 13 to maliciously shooting into an occupied car, attempted murder and felony use of a firearm. A sentencing date will be set later this month.
White remains at large.