Police arrest woman in connection with deadly 2013 shooting

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by Tami Hoey

azfamily.com

Posted on June 2, 2014 at 7:15 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 2 at 9:43 PM

PHOENIX -- Phoenix police have made an arrest in connection to a deadly shooting last October.

Laura Riddle-Strickland, 51, faces charges of first-degree murder, burglary and conspiracy.

Court documents show that in October 2013, Riddle-Strickland and two accomplices planned to rob a man living in an apartment near 19th Avenue and Thunderbird Road. That man allegedly sold meth.

But, apparently, they targeted the wrong unit. The resident, Timothy Johnson, called 911 and said two black males had forced their way into his apartment. One man reportedly was armed with a handgun. Johnson told police that the men began to search his apartment, allegedly looking for drugs

According to the police report, Johnson was able to grab his own gun and, believing his life was in danger, opened fire on one of the intruders.

That man, Sharkeen Forester, was killed. Police said the second intruder fled through a bedroom window. He was later identified as Rakeim Ward.

According to the police report, it was later revealed that Riddle-Strickland had reportedly told Forester and Ward about a person she knew that lived in that apartment complex, and that the person would be in possession of a large amount of methamphetamine. Riddle-Strickland had reportedly told them the person was old and unarmed and it should be an easy robbery.

The police report says that Forester drove to the apartment complex with Ward and Riddle-Strickland in the car. Riddle-Strickland reportedly pointed out the apartment, then waited in the vehicle while Forester and Ward went up to the apartment and forced their way in. But, they targeted the wrong unit.

After the gunfire erupted inside the apartment, police say Riddle-Strickland and Ward ran from the scene. Police say they then called a cab to take them home.

The police report states that Riddle-Strickland initially denied involvement in the crime, claiming she was home all night. But later, the Phoenix Police Crime Laboratory confirmed that DNA obtained from the suspect vehicle matched that of Riddle-Strickland.

According to the police report, Riddle-Strickland later admitted her involvement, but denied that she knew that Sharkeen Forester was armed during the incident.

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