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Soldier pleads not guilty to drive-by shooting in Lakewood

A soldier accused of being part of a retaliatory drive-by shooting outside a Lakewood bar last year pleaded not guilty to several charges Wednesday.

Pierce County prosecutors in July charged Jahrael Cromartie, 24, with first-degree assault, drive-by shooting and conspiracy to commit a drive-by shooting.

He pleaded not guilty and was ordered jailed in lieu of $1 million bail.

Cromartie was not arrested until Tuesday night. A warrant was issued for him in mid-August.

Also charged in the drive-by are Jimmy Jones, Derrick Jackson, Jaton Roberts and Troy Wilson.

All men are active-duty soldiers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and part of a gang, according to charging papers.

The shooting happened Oct. 13, 2013 in the parking lot of a sports bar on 86th Street. No one was injured.

Police were called to the scene and noticed an SUV run a red light after leaving the parking lot. Officers pulled the vehicle over and found the five defendants inside.

The men initially told police they heard gunshots and fled the area. A search of the SUV uncovered an assault rifle, ammunition, brass knuckles, prescription pills and multiple cell phones.

Text messages on one of the cell phones showed the men planned the shooting ahead of time in retaliation for a rival gang jumping one of their members, court records show.

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