COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Two Columbus men have been charged in connection with a series of armed robberies at local internet gaming cafes, including one that resulted in the deaths of two people.
Deshan Townsend and Desjuan Harris appeard in federal court Friday.
The investigation was a joint operation between the Columbus Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The FBI was involved because the cafes are engaged in interstate commerce, making the crimes that occurred there federal crimes.
Townsend and Harris were arrested by a Columbus SWAT team July 3.
The criminal complaint said two suspects went into Players Paradise on East Broad Street during the early morning hours of Jan. 20.
According to court documents, the two tried to force their way past a female employee and into the business’ office, which is when they were confronted by an armed security guard.
Court documents state one of the suspects shot and killed both the guard, Joseph Arrington, and his wife, the female employee, Karen Arrington.
The criminal complaint also alleges Townsend and Harris were responsible for an earlier robbery at the same location, and another robbery at a diffent internet cafe on Alum Creek Drive.
More arrests are possible, police said.
“This investigation is ongoing,” Ben Glassman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, said. “If you take a close look at the complaint, there’s an indication that these two were not the only people involved in these robberies — so the investigation is ongoing and hopefully we will get to the bottom of the entire scheme.”
The criminal complaint charges Townsend with three counts of interfering with interstate commerce by robbery, three counts of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, and one count of use of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence.
Harris is charged with two counts of interfering with interstate commerce by robbery and one count of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.
Neither Townsend nor Harris is currently facing murder charges in connection with the Jan. 20 incident.
If convicted of current charges, Harris could face life in prison. Townsend, who has an additional charge of using a firearm, could face the death penalty.