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2 teens charged, arrest warrant issued in killing of UW-Whitewater graduate

Tyrell D. Joseph and Ismael E. Moreno
Posted at 7:26 PM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-22 23:20:07-05

MILWAUKEE — Two Milwaukee teens were charged with reckless homicide in the killing of Purcell Pearson, a recent UW-Whitewater graduate, over a pair of $500 designer glasses, authorities say.

The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office charged Tyrell D. Joseph and Ismael E. Moreno, both 17 years old, with First Degree Reckless Homicide – Party to a Crime on Monday. If convicted, they could both face up to 60 years in prison.

RELATED: Friends, family mourn after shooting death of UW-Whitewater graduate

Both suspects have not been arrested, and Milwaukee police are asking for the public's help in locating them. Anyone with any information is asked to contact MPD at (414) 935-7360 or Crime Stoppers at (414) 224-TIPS or P3 Tips App for a cash reward. Warrants have been issued for their arrests.

Pearson, 22, was shot and killed on Feb. 6 in the 2200 block of West Wisconsin Avenue. Investigators say the suspects in a vehicle fired shots at him, striking him.

One of Pearson’s uncles, Tearman Spencer, who is Milwaukee’s City Attorney, told TMJ4 News in an interview that he believes his nephew was killed during the sale of designer Cartier glasses that day.

Purcell Pearson

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A criminal complaint released Monday confirms the details, with a witness - who was Pearson's brother - telling police at the time that Pearson was selling glasses, and the suspects robbed him and shot him.

The Medical Examiner's Office concluded Pearson died from two gunshot wounds, in his chest and in his back.

The brother told detectives in an interview that he and Pearson had been selling designer glasses for three to four months. They would buy glasses on DHGate and then sell them in Milwaukee on OfferUp and Facebook.

About a week before the homicide, they posted Cartier glasses for $400, the complaint states. A person by the name of Pablo Fernandez messaged them, saying he was interested in buying them.

Pearson appears to have met the interested buyer in person, who told Pearson that the glasses were not tight enough and wanted to buy two pairs for $500. Pearson went back to their apartment, fixed the glasses and returned to the street, according to prosecutors.

Outside the apartment, Pearson's brother found Pearson standing next to a van. A short time later, his brother heard a gunshot and found Pearson lying in the street near where was van was parked, the complaint states.

Investigators tracked the name Pablo Fernandez on “OfferUp” to a 262 area code phone number belonging to an adult woman. In 2019, the woman had been interviewed by police, when she told them her son was Tyrell D. Joseph, who at the time had been shot in the leg, according to prosecutors.

Surveillance video narrowed down the suspected van involved in the homicide as a blue Toyota Sienna minivan. It had been left across an alley where Joseph's family lives.

Joseph's grandfather, who lives there, confirmed to investigators Joseph's identity in surveillance footage. The grandfather also confirmed to police the identity of Ismael E. Moreno in surveillance footage.

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