A Sun Prairie man has been charged with reckless endangerment for his role in a shootout in November on Madison’s Far East Side that started as an argument on Facebook, court documents state, and ended with a bullet that narrowly missed striking a sleeping toddler.
Azim M. Abdul-Ahad, 21, was charged Monday with first-degree reckless endangerment, along with two counts each of felony and misdemeanor bail jumping, for the Nov. 24 incident in the 2400 block of Cottage Grove Road and the 900 block of Vernon Avenue. A stray bullet from the shootout penetrated the wall of an apartment and just missed a 3-year-old child.
Abdul-Ahad was jailed on $50,000 bail after appearing in court Monday. A preliminary hearing was set for May 5.
Madison police spokesman Joel DeSpain said Wednesday that police are still trying to identify others who were involved in the shootout, but no other arrests have been made yet. He said it wasn’t known if a bullet from Abdul-Ahad’s gun was one that struck the child’s baby shark stuffed toy.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Dane County Circuit Court:
People who live in the area of Cottage Grove Road and Vernon Avenue told police they heard multiple gunshots near their homes around 8:40 p.m. that night. Police who arrived found dozens of bullet casings.
Some of the witnesses said they saw a man run toward an apartment building and run inside before the lights went out in the only apartment that had lights on. Then a man and woman could be heard arguing.
An employee of Dane County Pretrial Services, which monitors some defendants in criminal cases while their cases are pending in court, contacted police after reading a news story about the shooting incident. She said she had the names of two people who were on GPS monitoring at the time of the Nov. 24 shooting, one of whom was Abdul-Ahad.
The GPS data showed Abdul-Ahad was inside an apartment building in the 4500 block of Cottage Grove Road at 8 p.m. that night, then he went outside to the 900 block of Vernon Avenue around the time shots were reported, then back inside the apartment building until about 10 p.m.
A woman who was Abdul-Ahad’s girlfriend at the time told police the shootout happened because “a guy took it the wrong way on Facebook.” She said she had posted a comment that was not appreciated by a man who then said he was headed to her house to make good on a threat. She said her friends came over to protect her.
When she went downstairs to confront the man who had threatened her, he had two males with him, she said. While talking with him, gunfire erupted. She ran back to her apartment. She told police she didn’t know who was shooting.
Shown security footage of Abdul-Ahad, she admitted he was at her apartment before her other friends arrived and said he was there after the shootout. But she declined to say where he was during the shooting.
Interviewed by police in January after his arrest in Iowa, Abdul-Ahad said he cut off his GPS bracelet after the shooting. He denied firing any shots. Later, he told police, “Y’all know clear as day they came shooting and shots got fired back,” and added, “I’m not saying I shot. I’m not saying I didn’t.”
Messages police found on the woman’s phone showed she discussed getting reinforcements and confronting the man with whom she was arguing on Facebook. In the meantime, that man announced on his Facebook page that he was going to the woman’s home to beat her up and was going to post the whole thing on Facebook Live.
Police believe, based on his GPS tracker, that Abdul-Ahad left the woman’s apartment just before the other men arrived. Then he waited at a distance until the fight occurred and fired toward the man and his friends, police said.
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