Man linked to attempted murder arrested

A police investigation that began in late June when a man reported that he had been kidnapped, shot twice, beaten with a gun and hit with a vehicle has resulted in the arrest of one of three suspects involved.

Azeez Muhammad, 20, was identified from video recorded behind Head Hunters Barber Shop on June 30 when Andrew Lawson was injured after struggling with them inside a vehicle, then outside it.

Muhammad was arrested earlier last week on non-related charges and was questioned by Detective Scott Norton, according to a probable cause affidavit presented in court Friday.

The incident began after police were sent to 3209 S. Main St., where Lawson said he had been forced into a vehicle while at McDonald’s on Olive Street. Lawson said a gun was shoved into his face and he was told to give the men “everything he had” and a struggled ensued between Lawson and one of the men.

Norton said in the affidavit police later learned that Lawson had not been forced into the vehicle but had made a phone call to a number he had been given two days earlier in an attempt to buy marijuana.

That number was traced to a man in Little Rock and when police went to his residence in an attempt to locate him, the vehicle seen in the video was found in the yard. He has not been located so far, but while at the house, a female told them that she had seen the video of the incident and identified Muhammad from the video.

According to the affidavit, when Muhammad was interviewed, he said he and his cousin, Brandon White, who is still at large, were hanging out with the other man when the man got a call from someone wanting to buy marijuana.

The three went to McDonald’s where Lawson got into the vehicle and according to the affidavit, the three planned to rob Lawson but when one of them pulled a gun, Lawson began to fight and a struggle ensued over the gun.

Norton said Muhammad also told police he was afraid Lawson was going to get the gun from him so he bit Lawson on the arm and gained control of the gun at that time. The two fell from the vehicle onto the ground and the gun jammed but Muhammad said he hit Lawson in the head three or four times with the jammed gun before giving it to White.

The affidavit also said when Muhammad and the other men were leaving, they noticed that Lawson had gotten up and was trying to get to his vehicle, which the other man had driven from McDonald’s and White, who was driving the vehicle found in Little Rock, and drove directly toward Lawson, striking him and forcing him onto the hood of the vehicle before all three men left the scene.

Following a court hearing Friday, Pine Bluff District Judge John Kearney set a $500,000 cash only bond for Muhammad after ruling prosecutors had probable cause to charge him with attempted capital murder, aggravated robbery and kidnapping.

Muhammad, who is currently on probation, had previously appeared in court Aug. 20 on charges of residential burglary and criminal mischief.

He was also ordered to have no contact with Lawson until the case is settled.