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Authorities: Suspect accused of killing Lancaster man also assaulted woman, relatives

Jonathan McFadden
jmcfadden@heraldonline.com
grier
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JERMAINE DEMARCUS GRIER

LANCASTER A Lancaster man just released from prison a week ago is accused of shooting his brother-in-law to death Tuesday night, then holding several of his family members at gunpoint before a homeowner shot him to end his assault on another relative, authorities say.

Jermaine Grier, 29, remained hospitalized in critical condition and under police guard Wednesday morning, authorities said.

Grier is considered a suspect in two separate incidents that both police officers and Sheriff's deputies are investigating.

At about 9:30 p.m., police went to Caroline Court apartments after family members called saying they believed "their father had been shot," Lancaster Police Capt. Scott Grant said. Police found James Hood, 48, of 702 Caroline Court dead of an apparent gunshot wound on his bedroom floor.

Hood's family told officers that they arrived home to find Hood, Grier's brother-in-law, dead on the floor. Grier, who had been at the house since 9 a.m., "accosted" them, Grant said, holding several of his family members at gunpoint.

A scuffle ensued, but relatives soon fled to a neighboring apartment where they called police, Grant said.

Meanwhile, deputies say Grier left the home and crossed into county limits once he arrived at a West Brooklyn Avenue house at about 9:53 p.m., according to a Lancaster County Sheriff's report. At the house, Grier allegedly began arguing with a 27-year-old female relative. The argument escalated when Grier fired shots at his family member while inside the house.

The woman ran, but Grier chased her, deputies say. He caught up with the victim and assaulted her in the yard of an adjacent home. That home's owner, 49, went to the woman's aid, allowing her to enter his home to flee Grier's assault.

Grier tried going inside the man's home after the victim, prompting a fight between Grier and the homeowner. Grier punched the homeowner in the face and then went inside the house. Armed with a gun, the homeowner shot Grier as the suspect walked toward him. Grier fell back on the porch, suffering from a gunshot wound in his abdomen.

When deputies arrived on scene, they found Grier on the front porch and a handgun believed to belong to the suspect on the edge of the woods nearby.

Grier was taken to a hospital, where he remains listed in critical condition. The female victim received treatment for minor injuries; the homeowner did not suffer any injuries, deputies say.

Once he is released from the hospital, deputies will charge Grier with attempted murder and first-degree burglaries. Deputies and Sixth Circuit Solicitor Doug Barfield have determined that no charges will be filed against the homeowner.

"This is a clear-cut case of what is commonly referred to as the Castle Doctrine," Sheriff Barry Faile wrote in a statement. "This man and his family were home minding their own business when trouble came to their door. There is no doubt that the homeowner acted within his rights to protect himself, his family, his home and the female victim."

Police have charged Grier with murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. Police have not established a motive in Hood's slaying.

Grier's criminal history dates back to 2002 when he was convicted of accessory after the fact to a felony, according to records with the State Law Enforcement Division. A year later, he was convicted again of the same charge and then sentenced to a year in prison in 2004. He was released on probation in 2006, said Stephanie Givens, state Department of Corrections spokeswoman.

In 2007, Grier again was imprisoned after he violated his probation, Givens said. He had just been released from the Department of Corrections last Monday.

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