UPDATE: Memphis Police identified Demarion Tackett, 15, as the person charged in the fatal shooting.

The Juvenile Court staff member says after reviewing his jacket, she cannot release any details to the media regarding his criminal past due to the type of crimes. 


MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Police say a 15-year-old has been charged in connection to the shooting of a beloved watermelon vendor two weeks ago in the Nutbush area.

The teen is being charged with First Degree Murder, First Degree Murder in Perpetration of a Felony to wit: Robbery, Especially Aggravated Robbery, Aggravated Robbery, and Employment of a Firearm During the Commission of a Dangerous Felony.

Beloved watermelon seller shot during robbery attempt

John Materna, 76, known by many as “Red” or the Watermelon Man, passed away Monday night after he was taken off life support.

Materna was selling watermelons at the corner of Homer Street and Wayne Avenue when he was shot on May 15. Materna had been selling his watermelons in Memphis for decades.

Memphis Police say he was robbed by two men seen getting out of a silver Infiniti with a paper tag that read “RETIRED.”

Longtime friend Randall Linn said Materna also had a gun, and he shot back.

“He (Red) shot back. Don’t know if he hit anybody going down or the car, but I know he was protecting himself as well as the other neighbor,” said Linn.

The family has set up a gofundme page to help his wife with any financial needs,

Police have not said anything about the second suspect. If you have any information that help investigators call CrimeStoppers at (901)528-CASH.