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‘Gang’ fashion prompts armed confrontation with Pullman teens; man sentenced to 31 months in prison

UPDATED: Wed., April 25, 2018

A 22-year-old man was sentenced Monday to 31 months in prison after he pointed a gun at some teenagers in a Pullman apartment complex, thinking they were part of a gang.

Marquise J. Leonard pleaded guilty to attempted robbery after prosecutors agreed not to seek additional prison time for his use of a firearm.

Authorities said Leonard confronted three Pullman High School graduates in the parking lot of the Campus Commons North apartments during the evening of Feb. 2. Two of the teens had red bandanas hanging out of their pockets, which Leonard recognized as a symbol of gang affiliation.

Whitman County Prosecutor Denis Tracy said Leonard “denied being in a gang himself, but he said he was familiar with the gang lifestyle. He wanted to teach them not to emulate that lifestyle.”

Wielding a pistol, Leonard asked the teens, “You banging?” and then told them, “Throw down your flags or I’ll smoke you,” according to the prosecutor.

The teens dropped their bandanas and ran away. Leonard then picked up the bandanas and threw them in a dumpster before going into his apartment, Tracy said.

The Whitman County SWAT team raided Leonard’s apartment several hours later, at about 10:30 p.m., and arrested him without incident. Authorities also retrieved his pistol.

Tracy said the teens did not know Leonard and had done nothing to provoke the confrontation.

“They weren’t in a gang,” Tracy said. “Whether they like to emulate that fashion style … I don’t know.”

He said Leonard’s actions were “definitely bizarre behavior.”

This was not Leonard’s first run-in with law enforcement in Pullman. He and two other men were arrested in March 2017 in response to reports they had assaulted another group and pointed an AR-15 rifle at pedestrians.

The rifle was later found inside the trio’s car, but prosecutors could not prove that Leonard had pointed it at anyone. He was, however, convicted of making a false statement to police and sentenced to 45 days behind bars, with 43 days suspended, Tracy said.

Leonard was on probation at the time of the bandana incident.

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