A Lancaster County jury is deliberated the fate of a Columbia man charged with shooting at police officers last summer.
Marquell Rentas, 18, was tried this week on multiple counts of attempted murder of a police officer, aggravated assault of a police officer and reckless endangerment, with testimony ending at midday Tuesday.
Police charged Rentas with firing numerous shots from a high-powered rifle on July 29, 2016, while perched at a second-floor window of 103 Bethel Street.
In closing arguments, Assistant District Attorney Travis S. Anderson told jurors Rentas admitted to firing at police as he was arrested, in fact, proclaiming, “I was shooting at you.”
Later, Rentas told a detective, “I hate (expletive) cops,” Anderson told the jury.
“Why would (Rentas) say that?” Anderson asked the jurors rhetorically. “If it were not true?”
The jury started deliberations Tuesday about 3 p.m., after instructions on the law from Lancaster County President Judge Dennis Reinaker.
In a 7-minute closing argument, Rentas’ defense lawyer claimed he was not aiming at police and is only guilty of reckless endangerment.
During the two-day trial, Anderson called the three officers who were fired upon and other police who investigated, including Columbia police Detective Matthew Leddy, who interviewed Rentas hours after the incident.
The three officers, all veteran policemen, testified they heard shots and heard bullets strike objects around them.
Anderson argued that just because Rentas did not wound any of the officers does not mean he did not intend to.
“It’s a blessing for everybody that he missed,” Anderson said. “We shouldn’t credit him for his lack of marksmanship.”
Detective Leddy filed charges.
Charges also were filed against 18-year-old Trenton Nace, who was with Rentas in the upstairs room as the shooting happened.
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