This release will update further details on the homicide and additional charges filed against Rice yesterday, June 19, 2019. Earlier releases follow.
Homicide update – based on interviews with witnesses and suspect statements, it was learned that Rice was using the firearm in a reckless manner while driving his Jeep out to, and at the Perkinsville Road location. Victim Aneesa Williams was a passenger in the Jeep at that time. A pickup truck containing the 2 male teens also present during the homicide followed Rice to the pull out off Perkinsville Road.
Statements obtained by detectives indicate Rice’s actions included firing rounds from his moving vehicle prior to arriving at the pull out. Once parked, Rice continued his reckless actions with the firearm by pointing the gun at the victim and other 2 males, even firing it in their direction. One of the witnesses indicated Rice shot the gun by Williams’ head causing her ears to ring. She asked him to stop. Eventually, the foursome ended up in the bed of the pick-up truck.
While in the bed of the truck, Rice pointed the gun towards the head of Williams and pulled the trigger. A bullet struck Williams in the head and she fell to the floor of the bed. Rice later claimed he thought the gun was empty.
New charges – during the follow-up investigation, detectives learned of 2 aggravated assault with firearm incidents that occurred June 11, 2019. On that day, 2 women were in the company of Rice at a home in Prescott. Rice pulled his gun out and started ‘showing off,’ and told them he was going to shoot the gun. Rice also pointed the gun at both women during this time. Rice aimed the gun specifically at one of the women, cocked the hammer and started to laugh. He did not fire the weapon.
Later that day, following a visit to the local DMV office, Rice became upset after leaving the DMV because a transaction had been denied. One of the women, who was at the house earlier with Rice, was in the vehicle. As they drove away from the DMV, Rice pointed the gun at her face while yelling at her apparently still angry after his DMV experience.
As a result, detectives additionally charged Rice with 3 counts of Assault with a Deadly Weapon. He remains in the Camp Verde Detention Center on a cash only bond of $150,000.
Detectives are continuing their work to trace how the firearm came into Rice’s possession.
Issued June 17, 2019 -- CORRECTION ON CALL TIME – The initial report to YCSO came in at 3:15 PM yesterday – I apologize for the error -
Following the initial investigation by YCSO detectives, 19-year-old Johnathan Rice of Chino Valley was arrested and charged with 2nd Degree Murder within the following section – ‘Under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life, the person recklessly engages in conduct that creates a grave risk of death and thereby causes the death of another person...’ He remains in the Camp Verde Detention Center – bond has not yet been set.
Background – A group of individuals drove out to an area off Perkinsville Road, east of Chino Valley, around mile marker 12 to have a party and consume alcoholic beverages. Rice was in possession of a revolver and had been firing the gun randomly. At one point, while the group was inside the bed of a pickup truck, Rice fired a round that struck 16-year-old Aneesa Williams from Chino Valley, striking Williams in the head. The detailed circumstances that led to the shooting are still under investigation.
After the shooting, an off –duty police officer happened upon the scene and was able to contact YCSO dispatch to report what he saw. There was no cell phone service at the scene, so he had to drive some distance to make the call, delaying law enforcement response. Medical personnel arrived as a transport helicopter was on standby, but Williams died at the scene.
Initial reports of a ‘road rage’ based shooting were unfounded as deputies were able to sort out the details and identify a suspect soon after arriving while detaining potential witnesses.
Rice and Williams were with at least 2 other individuals and detectives are documenting their statements as part of the investigation.
This is a very active investigation. As a result, no further specifics are currently available as detectives continue interviews and follow-up to sort out the details leading to the death of Williams.
(original media release text follows)-
Issued June 16, 2019 –
Preliminary information - the investigation is just underway ---
Around 5:15 PM, deputies were dispatched to a reported shooting around mile marker 12 on Perkinsville Road, east of the Town of Chino Valley. A 16-year-old female had sustained a gunshot wound to the head and died at the scene. 3 males were detained with at least one identified as the apparent shooter. The search for the handgun involved was successful and that weapon is in the custody of YCSO detectives who are currently working the investigation.
The case is still active and detectives will be interviewing witnesses and potential suspects to determine the circumstances and who is directly responsible for death of the teen.
No further details are available at this time. I expect to have an update out late tomorrow morning.
Please note - There are NO outstanding suspects.
Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at 928-771-3260 or the YCSO website: www.ycsoaz.gov