Elk’s Lodge shooting case heads to grand jury, accused faces four felonies

WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.

Johnnie Mathew Chapman (Courtesy JCCPD)
Johnnie Mathew Chapman (Courtesy JCCPD)

A man who allegedly shot two people at the Elk’s Lodge in September will face four charges before a grand jury in March.

Johnnie Chapman appeared in Williamsburg-James City County General District Court Thursday in a preliminary hearing, resulting from his alleged role in the Sept. 25 shooting at the Elk’s Lodge.

Chapman initially faced two counts of aggravated malicious wounding, one count of malicious wounding, three counts of use of a firearm in commission of a felony, one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and obstruction of justice.

Chapman will now face two counts of malicious assault, one count of the use of a firearm in commission of a felony, and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon.

Prosecutors dropped four charges, including obstruction of justice, two firearms counts and malicious wounding, at the beginning of the preliminary hearing. The charges were nolle prossed, meaning prosecutors won’t pursue the charges unless new evidence comes to light.

A judge reduced one of the aggravated malicious wounding counts to malicious wounding in court Thursday, as the result of testimony and evidence.  The father of one of the injured men testified that his son “is a kid that always loved basketball and it’s tough for him to play that now,” as the result of his two gunshot wounds.

The victim’s father also submitted photos of his son’s wounds — to his chest and arm — as evidence.  However, it was determined that the wounds were not sufficient for inclusion of “aggravated” with the malicious wounding charges.

According to Virginia Code, aggravated malicious wounding means the victim suffers significant and permanent physical impairment.

The owner of the Elk’s Lodge also testified.  He said he was present at the time of the shooting, which occurred during a private party at the lodge.

He said that a fight broke out in the back of the lodge between an unarmed security guard and a guest.  The manager said he was called to break up the fight, but more fights broke out at the same time.

“It was getting out of hand,” the manager said.  “I don’t know what happened leading up to it.”

As he led the security guard to the front exit, he said he saw Chapman raise his arm and brandish a small black handgun.

Chapman pointed the gun at the victim and fired once, according to the manager; he was screaming at Chapman from about 20 steps away when the victim fell to the floor and Chapman fired again. Two men began striking the victim while he was on the floor.

The manager then began to tend to the victim and said he lost sight of Chapman. He also said he heard one or two more shots before realizing there was another man who had been shot.  The second victim ran outside before collapsing “half-in, half-out” of a nearby parked car.

Both men survived their injuries. The manager identified photos of both victims in court.

Defense attorney Romeo Lumaban said that no shell casings were recovered from the scene.

The manager said he has known Chapman for years — even calling him a friend — but never knew him by name.

He was “always a real nice young man,” said the owner of the Elk’s Lodge.