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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Two face first-degree murder charges in Kirk shooting

     

    Police arrested two suspects in the shooting death of 18-year-old Devin Kirk, who was found by police in an alley on the city’s near west side Saturday afternoon.

    Tre M. McSpadden, 17, and Eric L. Cunningham, 19, turned themselves in to police without incident on Monday, said Deputy Chief David Dickerson.

    Kirk, the first Decatur homicide victim of 2011, was shot on Saturday. He was found by police at about 1:40 p.m. in the alley between the 900 block of King Street and View Street. He was taken to Decatur Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 4:38 p.m.

    The shooting incident stemmed from an ongoing dispute between members of two local groups, the Brick Squad and the Rachet City Squad.

    “”The two we arrested are part of this Ratchet City Squad,”” Dickerson said. “”The victim was with alleged members of the Brick Squad when this incident happened.””

    The victim does not have a definite tie to any “”squad.”” These squads are small groups of teens and young adults who band together to sell and use drugs and commit petty crimes, according to police records.

    “”We know that there was a battery incident between members of the two squads a short period of time prior to the shooting as well as an alleged theft of drugs,”” Dickerson said.

    An autopsy held Monday determined that the cause of Kirk’s death was massive bleeding due to a gunshot wound, according to a news release from Macon County CoronerMichael Day. A bullet penetrated the back and traveled upward to severe a major artery in the upper chest. A second bullet entered the right buttock and lodged in the pelvic area, near the spine.

    Both suspects were booked into the Macon County Jail, where they are each being held on a $1 million bond.

    Cunningham, a felon who is on probation on a Macon County narcotics charge, has an outstanding warrant in Tennessee, for failing to appear in court in Memphis recently on felony burglary and theft charges.

    Macon County State’s Attorney Jack Ahola said the suspects will likely be formally charged in circuit court later in the week. Because a judge already set their bonds and found probable cause to hold them at the time their arrest warrants were issued, it is not necessary for them to appear in court before their arraignments.

    Cunningham has two convictions in Macon County Circuit Court as well as an outstanding case in Shelby County, Tennessee.

    On Oct. 5, 2009, he pleaded guilty to domestic battery, for strangling a 12-year-old boy. He was sentenced to four days in the Macon County Jail, plus $210 in fines. When he did not pay his fines or return to court six months later, he was arrested and returned to jail. He was released a few days later to perform 40 days of community service.

    On Sept. 16, 2010, Cunningham was arrested in Shelby County. He was charged with two felonies, aggravated burglary and theft of property over $1,000. When he failed to show up for court on Tuesday, April 26, a warrant was issued for his arrest, said a prosecutor for the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office.

    On March 31, 2011, Cunningham pleaded guilty in Macon County Circuit Court to possession of a look-alike substance with intent to distribute. As part of his plea bargain, three weapons charges were dropped, including a Class X felony charge of armed violence, carrying a possible 15-to-30 year sentence.

    In that case, Cunningham was arrested on Feb. 25, after a police officer stopped a car in which he was a passenger. In a pouch near Cunningham the officer located a marijuana cigarette, a loaded .22-caliber revolver and small rocks resembling cocaine. Cunningham told the officer the rocks were drywall powder he had packaged and tried to sell as cocaine. Cunningham said the marijuana belonged to him but the gun was not his.

    Dickerson said young people should understand they are placing a lifetime of freedom and opportunity in jeopardy by committing acts of gun violence.

    “”Nobody ever comes out a winner in these violent encounters as one family loses a loved one in death and other families face the possibility of visiting their family members in prison for years to come,”” Dickerson said.

    The most recent killing, which occurred on April 30, came late in the year compared to recent years. The first homicide of 2010 occurred on March 28. There were four homicide deaths last year, the same number as 2009. In 2008, the first killing of the year occurred on May 7, the latest date recorded since 1993.

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