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Man takes plea deal after 2018 Thanksgiving shooting death

Cameron Wood pleads guilty to reckless homicide

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Cameron Wood

CAMERON WOOD

A Kokomo man avoided a murder charge after taking a plea deal in a shooting case that left one dead after gunfire was exchanged at The Greatt Escape in late 2018.

In the early morning hours of Nov. 22, gunfire erupted at The Greatt Escape bar on North Washington Street. Those involved left the scene before officers arrived, and hours later the body of Jamea Parker, 28, was found in a driveway on the 1900 block of North Buckeye Street. Cameron Wood, 24, was charged for engaging in the gunfight and firing the round that struck and killed Parker.

Two weeks ago a recommended plea bargain was filed with Superior Court I, in which Wood pleaded guilty to two felonies, which included reckless homicide.

On the morning of Thanksgiving Day in 2018, officers responded to a call of shots fired at The Greatt Escape at about 2:56 a.m. When Kokomo Police Department officers arrived, the suspects fled the scene. Witnesses claimed two black males left on foot while a Ford pickup fled the area at a high rate of speed. Investigators found multiple shell casings in the bar’s parking lot and obtained security footage.

Just a few hours later, at about 6:02 a.m., Parker was found dead in a driveway on North Buckeye Street with a gunshot wound in her back.

According to court documents, investigators learned that Terry Lawrence of Kokomo was the driver of the pickup truck that fled the bar during the shooting. When officers located the truck, they found a bullet hole in the rear driver’s side of the vehicle, bloodstains in the passenger seat, and shell casings. But Lawrence reportedly had fled to St. Louis, and when investigators reached him by phone he failed to show up for scheduled police interviews.

The security footage obtained from The Greatt Escape eventually filled in the gaps of what occurred last Thanksgiving. A probable cause affidavit indicated that the footage showed a fight break out on the north side of the bar near its entrance. During the fight, an individual bumped into Lawrence, who appeared to get upset and go after the individual. Then someone attempted to intervene and hold back Lawrence, but Lawrence began to advance toward the building while pulling a handgun from the front of his pants. Then it appeared Parker attempted to calm Lawrence down as the fight continued in the parking lot. Parker and Lawrence then got into the Ford pickup truck and left the parking lot. The truck first went south on Washington Street and stopped near the southern parking lot of the bar.

Parker and Lawrence exited the vehicle, according to the probable cause affidavit, and attempted to speak with another individual before reentering the truck. The truck then did a U-turn and began traveling north. As it was traveling, footage from the bar showed people in The Greatt Escape’s parking lot “ducking down as if shots were being fired from the truck.”

Wood was shown ducking behind a car in the parking lot, removing a gun from his waistband, and returning fire at the truck. In an interview, Wood admitted to shooting toward Lawrence’s truck, and Wood told investigators Lawrence fired first.

Wood was charged with murder, two counts of attempted aggravated battery, unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, reckless homicide, and involuntary manslaughter.

With his plea bargain, he would be found guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, a level 4 felony; and reckless homicide, a level 5 felony. The state would dismiss the remaining charges. The plea is set to be heard during a sentencing hearing on Nov. 18.

Lawrence was arrested in January and charged with attempted murder, aggravated battery, criminal recklessness, and altering the scene of death. He pleaded guilty to all of the charges earlier this month, except the charge of attempted murder was dismissed. He now is serving a sentence in the Indiana Department of Corrections, and his projected release date is Oct. 21, 2024.