A Delaware man has been charged with murder and had his bond set at $5 million after prosecutors alleged he shot and killed a Hilliard man Thursday night.
Bryan S. Pemberton, 33, of 994 Stratford Road, Delaware, appeared in Delaware Municipal Court on Friday morning via video-conferencing from the Delaware County Jail. Delaware Municipal Judge Marianne Hemmeter informed him that he had been charged with murder, a first-degree felony, and could face 15 years to life in prison, if convicted.
Pemberton asked the judge that he be released from jail on a recognizance bond and said the shooting was “a defense issue.” He also said, “I’m not a criminal.”
Assistant Delaware County Prosecutor Mark Sleeper detailed the events of the case for Hemmeter, stating that on Thursday evening, Ali Al Azirjawi, 28, of Hilliard, went with his fiance to pick up a child that his fiance and Pemberton shared. Sleeper said after they arrived at Pemberton’s home on Stratford Road, they called him to let him know they were there, but no one answered.
Sleeper said Pemberton then exited the house with a shotgun and approached the vehicle. He said Pemberton shot at Azirjawi twice as he was exiting vehicle, striking him in the head and chest with one of the shots.
The fiance and Azirjawi’s one-year-old child were also in the vehicle, but were not harmed in the shooting, Sleeper said.
Azirjawi was pronounced dead at the scene when police arrived shortly before 7 p.m. Sleeper said investigators were not aware of any prior conflict between Azirjawi and Pemberton.
Sleeper said employees from a nearby business heard the shots and called police before running over to investigate. He said Pemberton made comments to them and the police that he was the shooter.
Police took Pemberton into custody and transported him to Grady Memorial Hospital for a mental health evaluation. After the evaluation, the hospital recommended that Pemberton be transferred to Twin Valley Behavioral Healthcare Hospital hospital in Columbus, but there was no vacancy there Thursday night, so Pemberton was taken to the Delaware County Jail.
As of Friday, Pemberton remained in the Delaware County Jail.
According to law enforcement officials, it’s the first murder in the City of Delaware since 2011.