CEDAR RAPIDS — With an arrest in Arizona, police here announced Saturday they've closed the book on the last open murder case from 2014 — the shooting deaths of Quintrell Perkins and Sierrah Simmons.
Kendu R. Petties, 31, was arrested by federal marshals near Phoenix on a warrant for conspiracy to commit a forcible felony. He waived extradition and was returned Friday night to Linn County. He faces two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of Perkins, 22, and Simmons, 20, on April 2, 2014. He was being held on a $2 million bail
Simmons' godmother said her family can finally get the closure they need.
“She can rest in peace,” said Denia Davis, the godmother and family friend. “I've been uneasy this whole time because there was a killer out there. I didn't feel like she was resting easy. I now feel like she's resting easy.”
The double homicide marked the last open case from 2014 for Cedar Rapids police. Eight people died in six incidents last year in the city. Two cases were murder-suicides, and four have resulted in arrests.
Perkins and Simmons were found dead inside a home at 1708 Fourth Ave. SE when police responded to reports of a shooting there at 10:08 p.m. that day.
Davis said Perkins and Simmons were at the residence baby-sitting Perkins' younger siblings when two men ran through the front door and out the back door.
“And bullets came right behind them,” Davis said. Quintrell and Sierrah “definitely were not the targets.”
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Police Chief Wayne Jerman said he could not comment on the circumstances of the shooting, but the criminal complaint seems to support Davis' comments.
According to court documents reviewed Saturday, Petties discharged a full, 10-round magazine of bullets into the home, as well as a single round that was in the chamber of the gun. Two of the bullets hit Perkins and Simmons, who were sitting in the living room.
“The defendant premeditated the shooting with the intent to kill two other subjects inside the residence who ended up not even being present,” the complaint states. “Witnesses present at the time of the shooting verified that the defendant was the one who committed the murders and he admitted shooting into the home to more than one person.”
First Assistant Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks said Saturday the arrest was a collaborative effort between police investigators and the county attorney's office, with himself and Assistant Linn County Attorney Monica Slaughter talking with key witnesses in July and developing a case against Petties.
The warrant was issued on Aug. 14 and Petties was arrested on Aug. 21.
Maybanks said the investigation into the shooting deaths continues and urged anyone with knowledge about the offense to come forward to police or the Linn County Attorney's Office.
While authorities were able to identify Petties as a suspect earlier this summer, finding him was another matter.
Nicholas Bonifazi, with the U.S. Marshal's Office, said the agency was brought in after Petties was identified as a suspect. Investigators believed he had fled the state in late 2014.
“We began the investigation locally and it led us to the state of Illinois and eventually to the state of Arizona,” Bonifazi said. “The lead deputy here in our office worked very closely on the lead out of Phoenix.”
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Authorities learned Petties had family in the Phoenix area. He was eventually found to be living with a girlfriend in Mesa, just outside Phoenix. Petties did not resist arrest, Bonifazi said.
Davis said she and Simmons' mother, Sharre Simmons, have no idea who Petties is.
Davis also has been touched by gun violence. A few weeks before Simmons and Perkins were killed, her daughter, Denisha, was paralyzed by a bullet fired into a house party in Iowa City.
“We need to take Cedar Rapids back,” Davis said, speaking about the gun violence that has plagued the city. “It doesn't feel like Cedar Rapids. It's all being ruined by all this chaos and all this shooting.”
Petties' arrest caps an extraordinary week for the Cedar Rapids Police Department. Beginning a week ago, police have investigated the shooting death of 15-year-old Aaron Richardson, which culminated Wednesday in the arrest of 14-year-old Robert Humbles on a first-degree murder charges. Two retaliatory shootings followed on Monday and Tuesday, though no injuries were reported in those incidents.
Then on Thursday, a man whose name has not been released was shot and killed. There has been no arrest made in that case.
“It's a week I've not experienced since I've been here,” Jerman said. “I continue to be amazed and impressed at the caliber and work ethic of all the folks here at the department. Everyone has really rallied around and did what needed to be done.”