Mayor’s press secretary killed at Fandango Bar & Grill

The following people, along with the Fandango Bar & Grill, are fictional. They were created for an assignment for Jeff Ames’ introduction to journalism class. The following three stories are a series of stories given to us over three different days with a 30 minute deadline. We were given a page full of facts and quotes in order to write a piece for the fictional Centerville Newspaper.


At 10:45 p.m. Tuesday night, Peter Wickham, 35, was found dead in front of Fandango Bar & Grill in the Grungeville section in the city. Wickham was the press secretary for Mayor Fred Wiley. Centerville Police reported Wickham was shot once in the head, and was pronounced dead at St. Mary’s hospital.

According to Centerville homicide detectives, Wickham and another man in the bar got into an argument. The bartender threw them out. Fandango Bar patrons told police Wickham and the other man were heard arguing on the street outside the bar. When the sound of a gun shot was heard by a few patrons, they rushed outside where they found Wickham dead.

Homicide detectives on the scene have yet to find a motive for the shooting, according to Lieutenant Jane Ortlieb of the Centerville Police. “The Fandango is a known hangout for drug dealers and users, and people aren’t likely to talk,” Ortlieb told the Centerville Gazette. She did speculate that Wickham and the other man might have been arguing over a drug deal.


FredrickJohnson, 32, was arrested outside of his apartment Wednesday morning after a patron at the Fandango Bar & Grill identified him from Tuesday night’s shooting outside the bar. The man who was shot is named Peter Wickham and worked as the press secretary of Centerville’s mayor, Fred Wiley. Lieutenant Jane Ortlieb of the Centerville’s Police department stated that Johnson’s apartment was a few blocks from Fandango. The apartment was found empty when they arrived Tuesday night. Johnson showed up Wednesday morning and was arrested without incident. Centerville Police found the gun used in the shooting in a trash bin outside Johnson’s apartment. The police have reported that this gun was stolen.

According to police, Johnson was taken to the Centerville Police Station where he confessed to selling cocaine to Peter Wickham when the shooting occurred. Johnson claims the shooting was an accident  He and Wickham were arguing over money, which turned into a shoving match. Johnson pulled out the stolen gun to scare the press secretary, but Wickham grabbed the gun and it went off accidentally, hitting Wickham in the head.

Ortlieb says Johnson has a criminal record that includes assault and drug dealing. He was paroled two months ago after serving his two year sentence for the drug dealing charge. Johnson is due to be arraigned at Centerville District Court tomorrow.

Deputy Mayor Susan Benedetto, reading from a statement, commented on Wickham’s death. “Everyone in Mayor Wiley’s office is deeply saddened by this. Our thoughts and payers go out to Mr. Wickhman’s family.”


Frederick Johnson, the suspect arrested for the shooting of Peter Wickham was escorted to his arraignment in the courthouse at 10 a.m. Thursday.

“I didn’t do nothing. The cops forced me to confess,” Wickham said.

During the arraignment Johnson’s court-appointed attorney, Sandra Clemenson, filed a not guilty plea to Judge Tracy Fordham. Judge Fordham set a bail of $1 million.

Johnson, 32, was arrested for the Tuesday night shooting of Peter Wickham at the Fandango Bar & Grill. Johnson has a criminal record that included assault and drug dealing. Wickham worked as the press secretary for Centerville Mayor, Fred Wiley. A gun was found in a trash bin near Johnson’s apartment, which led Johnson to confess to Centerville Police. Johnson told police that the was selling cocaine to Wickham when the shooting occurred but the shooting was an accident. However, Johnson and Clemenson claim this confession was illegal.

“We’re going to be maintaing that the police forced an illegal confession from Mr. Johnson, and we maintain he is innocent,” Attorney Clemenson said outside Judge Fordham’s chambers.

Centerville Police Chief, Albert Ryan, responded to that claim later Thursday afternoon in a statement. “It had come to my attention that Frederick Johnson…has claimed this confession was obtained illegally. This is false. Johnson’s confession was obtained legally using standard interrogation techniques.”

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