WILKES-BARRE — Two men charged with a string of armed robberies that gripped the area two years ago are slated for trial later this month in one of the violent encounters in which a man was shot multiple times, causing his vehicle to plow into a parked car.
Dashawn McLendon, 22, and Ibn McClain, 17, both of Wilkes-Barre, are accused of carrying out a robbery spree that targeted three taxi drivers and an acquaintance between late November and early December 2015.
McLendon and McClain face charges in multiple cases, but only the attempted homicide and other charges related to shooting victim Ian Nieves will go to trial Aug. 21 in Luzerne County Court, according to prosecutors. The remaining cases are expected to be tried at a later date.
Nieves, who has identified himself as a friend of McLendon and McClain, was shot in the leg and shoulder after picking up the pair in his Chrysler sedan near North Pennsylvania Avenue and East Chestnut Street on Dec. 4, 2015, police said.
Nieves, 22 at the time, testified at a previous hearing that McLendon got into the front seat while McClain sat behind him. One of them ordered Nieves to stop the car, and when he did, McClain exited the vehicle and shot Nieves in the shoulder, he said. Wounded, Nieves hit the gas pedal while attempting to fight off an armed McLendon, according to police.
Nieves was then shot in the leg, police said, and narrowly avoided another gunshot before his vehicle struck a parked car on North Main Street. McClain said, “We gonna do you like the taxis” before he fired into the vehicle, where Nieves was ducking for cover in the backseat, according to police.
Witnesses who reported hearing a loud bang came outside to see the wreckage and a man later identified as McClain holding a gun, court records state.
McClain then allegedly pointed the firearm at the witnesses, causing them to dive onto the ground before he and McClain took off.
In another case in which only McClain is expected to face trial, Burgit’s City Taxi driver Jesse Honeywell was shot in the right hand and right leg just before 2 a.m. Nov. 26, 2015, in what would be the first of a string of similar robberies in the coming days in Wilkes-Barre. Honeywell was robbed of about $40, police said.
The same day, Burgit’s driver Gerhard Perrone reported he was robbed of about $300 by two men wearing masks. Perrone, however, could not identify the assailants and charges were not filed related to the incident, prosecutors say.
Five days later, Cristian Genao of Jose Express Transportation was robbed after transporting three males from New York. When he arrived to drop them off on Madison Street, he noticed they had masks on and had brandished handguns. The assailants stole $200, a cell phone and his wallet, police said. Both McLendon and McClain are charged in that case.
Nieves was shot three days later. His home was robbed that night, police said, adding they believe anonymous calls made to 911 warning of an active shooter were a diversion meant to draw officers away from the burglary.
McClain and McLendon were arrested less than a week later at a hotel in Lehigh County.
Reach Joe Dolinsky at 570-991-6110 or on Twitter @JoeDolinskyTL