MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Shelby County jury convicted a reported gang member with shooting a pedestrian who was crossing a street “for no apparent reason.” The same suspect also faces charges in the murder of a downtown Memphis restaurant worker.
The Shelby County District Attorney General’s Office said 21-year-old Demarcus Wooten was convicted Wednesday of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and employment of a firearm in the commission of a dangerous felony in the death of 49-year-old Willie C. Gandy.
The murder case carries an automatic sentence of life in prison, and he will be sentenced on the other charges in February.
Prosecutors said Wooten was in the backseat of a car with several others in the early morning of June 12, 2019, when he fired at another driver at Mt. Moriah and Willow Road. The driver wasn’t hurt, but the car’s rear door was hit and window shattered.
Investigators said minutes later about 2:30 a.m., the car with Wooten inside stopped for a red light at Mt. Moriah and Quince, and witnesses said “for no apparent reason,” Wooten shot Gandy in the back as the victim walked in the crosswalk.
Prosecutors said witnesses told investigators the car’s driver continued on Mt. Moriah, but Wooten told the driver to make a U-turn, and laughed and said “Look at his body” as they passed. They said when a witness texted him later asking about the shooting, Wooten replied “He dead” in a return text with a smiling emoji.
Prosecutors said Wooten is a known gang member whose nickname is Hot Head.
The Shelby County D.A.’s office said Wooten is also charged with first-degree murder in the 2019 shooting death of a downtown Memphis restaurant worker.
We’re told the case is still pending against Wooten in the death of Casey Tinker.
Tinker was found shot to death in his car September 17, 2019 in the 3800 block of Maid Marian Lane. Tinker’s family posted on social media that he had been returning home from work at Flight Restaurant downtown when he was killed.
According to the police affidavit, a witness and an unnamed co-defendant told investigators the co-defendant and Wooten jumped out and tried to rob Tinker, and when Tinker tried to fight back, Wooten shot twice into Tinker’s car.
Tinker was able to drive off, and was later found dead in his car.