Gang member sentenced to life for killing innocent bystander in drive-by

Gang member sentenced to life for killing innocent bystander in drive-by

A member of Houston’s 103 gang was sentenced to life in prison for murdering an innocent bystander during a brazen daytime drive-by shooting in 2017, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Wednesday. 

“Gangs are violent and reckless and, like in this case, sometimes take the lives of people who are completely innocent,” Ogg said. "Gangs terrorize communities and it is heartbreaking and absolutely unacceptable that Mr. Johnson was killed as he walked home from work.”

Deandre Watson, 24, and three other members of the 100 Percent Third Ward or 103 gang drove to a house on a corner of London street known to be frequented by members of their rivals, the Young Scott Block or YSB, about 1:15 p.m. on October 16, 2017.

During the week-long trial, jurors heard that Sam Johnson, 53, was walking nearby when the gang showed up and started shooting at the house in the Third Ward

Watson fired at least 27 shots from an AR-15, a semi-automatic assault rifle. He was linked to the scene using cell phone, text messages from his cell phone (GPS data), text messages from his phone, surveillance video and ballistic evidence.

“This was the true definition of an innocent victim,”said Assistant District Attorney Keaton Forcht, who prosecuted the case with Edward Appelbaum. “The defendant viewed Mr. Johnson’s life as collateral damage to a senseless gang war between two gangs that have terrorized this community for far too long.” 

Forcht said one YSB member was hit by the gunfire but survived.

The driver and the remaining two gunmen who were with Watson are also facing murder charges. 

The jury convicted Watson of Murder and sentenced him late Tuesday.

The case was investigated by Houston Police and prosecuted by the Organized Crime and Gangs Division of the Harris County District Attorney's Office.