Two suspects have been charged with murder and hate crimes in connection with the shooting death of a Black Navy veteran and youth pastor last week at a California gas station, police said Friday.
Prosecutors in San Joaquin County, south of Sacramento, have charged Jeremy Wayne Jones, 49, and Christina Lyn Garner, 42, with first-degree murder in the March 15 shooting death of Justin Peoples, 30.
The allegations include a “special circumstance” charging that Jones and Garner targeted People based on their race, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, or religion, making them eligible for a life sentence without parole.
Justin Peoples is pictured here with his younger sister.
With thanks to Maurice Peoples
The district attorney’s office included photographs of tattoos depicting a Swastika and the phrases “white power” in a news release about the event. It was unclear to whom they belonged. A spokeswoman for the company did not reply quickly to a request for comment.
The district attorney’s office declined to elaborate on the alleged hate crime.
A third individual was accused of aiding and abetting the alleged conduct.
According to the news release, the killing occurred at a Chevron gas station in Tracy. When cops discovered Peoples, the release states that he had been shot once and stabbed.
He was later pronounced dead at a local hospital, according to Peoples’ father, Maurice Peoples.
“He had the heart of a lion in order to survive, but he didn’t,” Maurice Peoples explained.
A Tennessee man has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Lorenzen Wright, a former NBA player.
Maurice Peoples stated that his son visited the petrol station with his girlfriend in order to obtain quarters for laundry. According to Maurice Peoples, the girlfriend, who waited behind in their car, stated that as Justin Peoples entered the gas station, the suspects followed him in.
It is unclear whether there was an altercation prior to Jones and Lyn reportedly shooting and stabbing him.
Maurice Peoples stated that his son grew up in the adjacent city of Stockton in the Central Valley of California. Maurice Peoples stated he attended San Joaquin Delta College before joining the Navy in 2010. He was medically released almost a year later, he said, due to ulcers.
Justin Peoples was a youth pastor at a local church and worked two jobs delivering auto parts and deliveries at the time of his death, according to his father, Maurice Peoples. The father stated that he has two sons, ages 11 and 2.
Maurice Peoples described his son as having a “large compassionate heart” and a “large smile.” “When he approached, you could feel the warmth emanating from his smile,” he explained.