Tifton Gazette

Local News

March 8, 2013

Murder suspect arrested in Tifton

MOULTRIE — With the arrest of the alleged triggerman on Thursday, law enforcement had two people jailed on murder charges in last Sunday’s shooting that left one man dead and three other people injured.

The shooting stemmed from a disagreement between the alleged gunman Derek Lamar Rushing, 23, 608 Third St. N.W., and another man, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Friday. The man who was targeted was not at the scene of the shooting where James L. Key, 50, was fatally shot.

“It stemmed from an argument earlier in the day,” said Steve Turner, special agent in charge of the agency’s Thomasville office. “Key had nothing to do with it. (The shooter) just shot in the crowd. Key happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

The man who was targeted, whom Turner declined to identify, was supposed to be at the house on Second Street but was not there at the time of the shooting, Turner said. He said he was not sure what sparked the argument.

“I think it was really about nothing, just people mouthing off,” Turner said.

Rushing, who pleaded guilty two weeks ago in an aggravated assault case, and Antonio Dewayne Williams, 24, 120 Fourth St. S.W., have been charged with murder. Willliams is alleged to be the driver of the car from which the fatal shots were fired.

Other charges are pending against the two men. Turner said that no weapon has been recovered and that the agency is not identifying the man who was the target in the attack.

Rushing was arrested at about noon Thursday at a Scottish Inn on U.S. Hwy. 82 in Tifton, Turner said.

Key was one of several people who were in the front yard of the residence around a fire in a barrel on a frigid night. A neighbor said that Key was a nice guy who was not known to get into confrontations that could have made someone want to shoot him.

Key was struck by multiple bullets, Colquitt County Coroner Verlyn Brock said.

On Friday, two of those wounded outside 224 Second St. N.W. remained hospitalized, with one in critical condition. That man, Eric DeBruce, was in the intensive care unit at Colquitt Regional Medical Center, a family friend said.

Margaret White Tuff also was at the hospital in fair condition.

Acquaintances of the two said t

hat DeBruce had been shot in the leg and upper body and Tuff in the foot. The third person injured in the shooting, Elizah Daniels, 55, was struck in the shoulder.

A hospital spokeswoman said that Tuff was in fair condition. Daniels was treated at CRMC and was released on Monday.

A friend of the DeBruce family who answered the telephone in the intensive care waiting room on Friday evening said that DeBruce was “doing OK” and could be released next week.

Williams does not have a prison record in the state and had not been housed at Colquitt County Jail prior to his arrest this week.

Rushing pleaded guilty on Feb. 25 to a count of aggravated assault in a case in which he and a co-defendant also had been indicted on charges of burglary and criminal attempt to commit a felony.

Rushing and Torrence Tyrone Pinkins, 23, were accused of a July 30, 2012, break-in at the 511 Fourth Ave. N.W. residence of Carolyn Dillard and pointing a gun at Larry Williams as well as beating and kicking him.

Both pleaded guilty to pointing a gun at Williams.

They were each sentenced to serve seven years on probation, pay $1,500 fines and reimburse $500 each for the costs of a public defender.

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