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West Side shooting was an ambush, police say

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Police believe a Saturday shooting on Charleston's West Side was an ambush in retaliation for a murder last year.

Charleston detectives named Jon Paul Clements, 31, of Charleston, as a second suspect Thursday in the shooting. More than 60 rounds were fired and two people were injured.

Andre Williamson, 25, and Cierra Leftwich, 22, both of Charleston, were shot in the legs while standing in front of Seoul of Charleston restaurant on Washington Street West.

Detectives have said Williamson, who is also known as "A3" and "Andrew Miller," was the target and Leftwich was an innocent bystander.

Williamson was wounded in the upper left leg while Leftwich was hit in the lower left leg. Both were taken to Charleston Area Medical Center's General Hospital, where they were treated and released.

Williamson was released to police custody, as he was charged with being an accessory after the fact in the October murder of David Booker. 

Surveillance video from businesses in the area showed the shooting that morning. Two men later identified as Robert Jared Smith, 34, and Clements fired handguns toward Williamson and Leftwich, Detective J.C. Webb said in an email Thursday.

Williamson told detectives he was approaching the front door of the restaurant to leave as Smith approached him and began firing. Detectives said the shooting provoked gunfire from other individuals in the immediate vicinity.

Lt. Steve Cooper said detectives were working to identify the other shooters involved.

"It was clearly an ambush," Cooper said Thursday. "Somehow they knew he was going to be there.

"The video depicts them positioning themselves strategically and waiting for Mr. Williamson."

Detectives suspect the shooting was in retaliation for a shooting in front of Sky Lounge on Capitol Street in September and the October murder of Booker, whose body was found with two bullet wounds in the head on the city's East End.

Richard Hilliard, 24, of Charleston, pleaded guilty earlier this month to manslaughter, telling authorities he shot Booker after the man put a gun to Williamson's head.

Clements was a friend of Booker, Cooper said. Detectives Webb and J.D. Koerber were investigating Booker's murder when they spoke to Clements. Webb wrote in the email that he asked Clements if he knew who killed Booker.

"You better find them before I do," Clements responded.

Clements is an associate of Smith, Cooper said, and both were involved with the City Park Gangsters in the late '90s. Cooper said many of the members of that group were released recently from prison and were "back to their old tricks."

Smith was arrested Monday night and charged with wanton endangerment, malicious wounding and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Detectives are actively searching for Clements, who is considered to be armed and dangerous.

"Based on the large number of shots fired, the fact that an innocent bystander was shot and his serious criminal history, it's clear he shows a total disregard for human life," Cooper said. "We hope someone will turn him in before anyone else gets hurt.

"I'm hoping that Mr. Clements will turn himself in. The fact that he's heavily armed is a concern."

Cooper said detectives have a very strong case against Smith and Clements, adding that once Clements was in custody, the public would be safer.

Williamson currently is being held at South Central Regional Jail while Smith is being held at Southwestern Regional Jail.

Anyone with information can contact the Criminal Investigation Division at 304-348-6480. Anonymous tips are welcome.

Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at or 304-348-4850.


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