2 charged after fatal triple shooting during alleged drug transaction; suspect said victim 'fired first'

Deshawn Moore

MILWAUKEE -- Two men are facing felony murder charges in connection with the shooting death of Alfonzie Cockroft, who died during an alleged drug transaction on May 12 near Palmetto and Grantosa in Milwaukee.

Larry Benford, 20, of Milwaukee faces one count of felony murder, and one count of felony bail jumping.

Deshawn Moore, 20, of Milwaukee faces one count of felony murder.

According to a criminal complaint, police on May 12 were dispatched to the scene of a shooting near Palmetto and Grantosa. There, they found a man slumped over in the driver's seat of an SUV -- with several casings and a handgun with an extended magazine located on the floor in front of the passenger seat. Two other handguns were found in the backseat.

The medical examiner determined the victim from the SUV, Cockroft, suffered two gunshot wounds -- one to the chest and one to the abdomen. His death was ruled a homicide.

In addition to the three firearms, a search of the vehicle revealed six 9mm spent casings, a digital scale, $375, a handgun holster, a 7.65 mm casing and a plastic bag containing suspected marijuana.

Triple shooting on West Palmetto Avenue

Benford spoke with investigators, and the complaint says he told them Moore and a third individual "set up (the victim) to be robbed." Benford said the third individual told Benford the victim "would not be armed." He said the plan was to take a half-pound of marijuana from the victim, and whatever money he had on him. He said he and Moore and the third person picked up the victim and then dropped off the third individual at 18th and Atkinson, picking up a fourth individual at 76th and Hampton. The plan was for this fourth individual to "come up to (the victim's) driver's side door and rob him at gunpoint."

Benford said when they arrived at the location, he and Moore walked over to the victim's vehicle, and Moore got into the front passenger seat. Benford said he got into the rear passenger seat. He said the victim produced the marijuana and began weighing it on a scale. The victim asked for the money and Moore then "reached into his waistband and pulled out a gun." Benford said he pulled out a gun as well. They then demanded the marijuana. The victim then produced his own gun, and Benford said at that point, the victim "shot toward Moore." Benford said he grabbed the victim's gun but the victim was able to hold onto it -- and he began shooting at Benford. Benford said he fired back and thought Moore shot once as well. They then got out of the victim's car and ran, the complaint says.

Triple shooting on West Palmetto Avenue

Both Moore and Benford were struck by gunfire.

Moore told investigators they were going to rob the victim, but the victim "shot them first." Moore said he was shot in the hand, and the victim shot a second time out the front passenger window. He said "when he tried to get his gun out of his pocket after the first shot, he couldn't, and he either dropped his gun or it fell." He said as he was running away, the third individual still in the vehicle they pulled up in picked him up and drove him to the hospital.

Triple shooting on West Palmetto Avenue

The complaint says Benford was charged with possession with intent to deliver THC in January. He was out on a $750 signature bond at the time of this shooting.