Warrant: Shooter offered driver cash
ALEXANDRIA – Hugo “Juice” Baez offered a doorman $100 to drive him to Harrisburg after allegedly shooting 22-year-old Willie Solomon to death inside Choices Nightclub, according to a search warrant.
A club doorman, Brandon A. Midder, 24, of 317 Sixth Ave., was arrested along with the 20-year-old Baez in the early hours of Nov. 1 on Route 22 near Alexandria after a traffic stop by state police.
According to a Huntingdon County search warrant, police allegedly found two guns, a 20-gauge shotgun and a .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun inside Midder’s 1989 Chevrolet Caprice. Altoona police had spotted the Caprice in Tyrone as officers canvassed Blair County after the shooting in search of Midder and a man known only as “Juice” after witnesses and surveillance video at the club put the two men at the center of the crime.
Police said the handgun used in the shooting, as well as another handgun that video surveillance shows in the hands of Midder at the club, remain missing.
According to the search warrant that was applied for by state police and granted by Magisterial District Judge Douglas Gummo, Midder and Baez were pulled over by state police after pulling out of Martin’s General Store on Route 22 near Alexandria, where the two had stopped for gas.
Although Baez tried to give the fake name of James Santos, police had stills from the surveillance video at the club and identified him as their suspect. Baez, whose real name was learned only after he was fingerprinted, invoked his right to remain silent after he was read his Miranda rights when he was taken into custody, according to police.
Midder told police he knew Baez as “James” and said it was Baez who shot Solomon. Police noted Midder told investigators that after he left the club, he got a call from Baez. Midder said Baez offered him $100 to drive him to Harrisburg and had put something in the trunk and bags in the back seat, according to police.
Along with the guns, a bag and various pieces of clothing, state police reported seizing a box of empty wax packets and a digital scale from the car.
Police said Midder was sitting at a table at Choices Nightclub, 130 Sixth Ave., with Baez and several other people when Jacob Dormevil Jr., 20, approached them about 11:30 p.m. on Halloween night. Dormevil said something to Baez that prompted Baez to stand and follow Dormevil toward the club’s exit, police said. As Baez reached the door, Solomon – who is Dormevil’s brother – came up behind him and grabbed him.
Police said at that point, Baez grabbed Solomon and fired several shots. Solomon then fell to the ground, and the two continued to struggle as they moved toward the door, out of view of the camera, police noted.
Solomon died at UPMC Altoona at 12:02 a.m., less than a half-hour after the exchange of words between Dormevil and Baez.
Midder is charged with illegal possession of a gun by a convicted felon, and police alleged surveillance video shows Midder pulling a handgun from his jacket pocket after Baez shot Solomon, but it slipped from his hands and slid across the floor.
The video shows someone hand the gun back to Midder, who then points it in the direction of the door where Dormevil is trying to get back inside.
Police said the gun’s clip, loaded with 9 mm rounds, was later found by police beneath a pool table at the club.
Midder remains in Blair County Prison in lieu of $50,000 cash bond while Baez remains jailed without bail on criminal homicide, aggravated assault and related charges.
Both men are due to appear at Central Court on Dec. 6 for preliminary hearings on the charges.