ASHLAND The victim in a Dec. 19 shooting is suspected of being involved in a drug trade, according to records obtained by The Daily Independent.

The details have come to light following the indictment of two West Virginia men this week in connection with the shooting in the 3000 block of East Holt Street.

John A. Posocco, 24, and 19-year-old Caleb Vanmatre, both of Huntington, were indicted this week in connection with the robbery turned shooting. Posocco, who was already indicted on an attempted murder charge earlier this month, is now facing a first-degree robbery count. Vanmatre was indicted on a facilitation to robbery in the first-degree charge.

Chief Todd Kelley of the Ashland Police Department reported the victim in the case, who records show was shot through the bridge of his nose, is still in critical condition. The chief said the two indicted men are the only leads in the case, although additional suspects could be developed.

“Any investigation where the victim is in such a serious condition takes time,” he said. “The case is still open.”

Court records show the shooting was a case of a drug deal gone wrong.

The shooting was reported by the vicitm’s girlfriend in the early morning hours of Dec. 19, records show. The girlfriend reported she was awoken by the victim’s moans, according to court records. She found her boyfriend on the kitchen floor, holding his eye. However, records show she did not hear the shot.

In a statement to Ashland police, the girlfriend said the victim did not work and possibly sold marijuana. Police learned there were two guns in the house, along with cash and marijauna, the records show.

Police found marijauna plants and a pistol magazine inside the home, the records show. No guns were seized during a search of the house, the documents indicate.

A search of the victim’s cellphone showed “Exxon Jon” communicated with the victim hours before the shooting, the report shows. A relative of the victim told officers the victim had noticed “Exxon Jon” was sitting in the back of a police cruiser during a video call and told him not to come. The court records corroborated this account with a report from Chesapeake police about a traffic stop earlier that day.

 Due to the victim’s injuries, investigators communicated with the victim through writing and head gestures, according to the records. Police learned “Exxon Jon” and a “fat kid” visited the home, although the latter left before the shooting, the report states.

“Exxon Jon” shot the victim with his own gun before taking off with another gun and a designer handbag full of cash, according to the record.

Through digital detective work, records show police deduced Posocco was “Exxon Jon.” Posocco turned himself on Dec. 21 after police spoke with his father, records show.

During an interview following his arrest, records show Posocco claimed he visited the victim’s house to buy Xanax, a benzodiazpeam. The victim attempted to rob Posocco with a gun and a struggle ensued, according to the statement. When the gun went off, Posocco said he ran away because he was scared. He denied bringing anyone with him for the transaction.

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