Man charged in University of Memphis student’s murder

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis man was arrested early Friday in connection to the deadly shooting of a University of Memphis student.

DeMarcus Wooten, 19, is charged with first-degree murder in the killing of 26-year-old Casey Tinker last week.

Wooten was a free man, even though his gun was tied to three shootings just a few months ago.

Thursday night, after Wooten was identified as a suspect in Tinker's murder, investigators swarmed a South Memphis neighborhood on a tip he was hiding out there.

For hours, entire streets near a home on East McKellar Avenue were blocked off, trapping people inside their homes and keeping others from getting into theirs as officers and agents walked around in tactical gear, carrying rifles.

“It surprises me," neighbor Lee Jones said.

James Garrett, who also lives nearby, says he heard about the police presence from family, but stayed inside.

“I don’t try to go out and see everything, you know, so I just put it in the hands of the good Lord," he said.

Believing someone may be barricaded inside, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office’s Multi-Agency Gang Unit sent a robot into the home, but it turns out, Wooten wasn’t there. Investigators say he was finally arrested around 1 a.m. at a different house in Orange Mound.

Police say Wooten shot Tinker, a University of Memphis student, during an attempted robbery last Tuesday. He was able to drive away, but was later found dead in his car.

Wooten spent much of June in jail after being arrested for three other shootings, including one in which police say he shot his own brother over a pair of Nikes.

“It’s just unnecessary. Them kids not thinking, not doing what they need to be doing," Jones said. “You can’t tell ‘em nothin’ nowadays.”

Even though court documents show investigators matched Wooten’s gun to all three shootings and witnesses identified him, the charges were later dropped and he was released from jail, according to online records.

Wooten is now charged with first-degree murder. He will be in court Monday.

WREG asked the Shelby County District Attorney's Office Friday morning why the previous charges against Wooten were dropped. They sent the following statement.

“They were dismissed by the judges when one of our witnesses or an officer did not show up to testify in the preliminary hearings, precluding our ability to prove probable cause. The cases still can be indicted, and will be.”

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