More details of murder revealed (with mugs)

Published 10:57 pm Monday, June 9, 2014

Opp Police Chief Mike McDonald speaks during a press conference called Monday.

Opp Police Chief Mike McDonald speaks during a press conference called Monday.

Both law enforcement officials and the family of slain Opp 20-year-old Demetrice Hines say a post made on social media almost two months to the day before he was killed by gunfire in a night club Sunday morning was just a coincidence – not evidence someone was out to murder him.

Hines died after being transported to Mizell Memorial Hospital in a private vehicle

Hines died after being transported to Mizell Memorial Hospital in a private vehicle

In his last post on Facebook, made on April 9, Hines wrote, “Ima dead man walkn.” Sunday morning, at approximately 1:30, Hines was killed by gunfire at the Little Harlem Club in Opp. His was shot on the side of his torso. He was also one of five people wounded at the Hardin Street club that morning.

Hines’ cousin, Laquetta Gipps, said he and her daughter were “very close,” adding she had no reason to take the post literally.

“I think that was just a figure of speech,” Gipps said. “I think it was just a case of the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Cole, 23, is charged with murder and attempted murder

Cole, 23, is charged with murder and attempted murder

Hines’ father, Demetrice, also said he had no reason to believe his son was in any kind of known danger, but thinks the post was his way of venting frustration.

“It was just the trouble he was going through at that time,” he said. “He had just come off a bad sickness and lost his job.”

Only hours after the shooting, 23-year-old Kanavis Malik Cole of Elba, was arrested and charged with Hines’ murder, as well as a separate charge of attempted murder.

Opp Chief of Police Mike McDonald said all evidence collected thus far points to the shooting being an isolated incident, and not a carefully planned attack.

“It appears this was the result of a reasonably minor physical altercation inside the club,” McDonald said during a press conference held Monday afternoon. “It appears to have been the result of people just bumping into each other on the dance floor.”

Hines’ father said he had no reason to think the two men had any bad blood between them.

“I don’t think he had any problem with (Cole),” he said. “He probably knew him socially, or knew of him. But as far as a confrontation with him, I don’t think he had any kind of confrontation whatsoever with him.”

McDonald said officers were initially called to the scene of the shooting at 1:33 a.m. and, upon arrival, discovered that five injured persons had been transported to the emergency room at Mizell Memorial Hospital by private vehicles. Hines passed away a short time later from a gunshot wound. McDonald said investigators initially thought they had a total of five gunshot victims, but now believe some of the injuries may have come from being trampled by “200 to 300 people” all trying to get out of the club after gunfire broke out.

“We think at this point that we have two gunshot victims,” McDonald said Monday. “We are still trying to ascertain if the others were hit by fragments or hurt in some other way.”

McDonald said the second positive gunshot victim, 26-year-old James Danshay Edwards, is now believed to have been the intended target.

“Three shots were fired,” he said. “But we still believe it was a combination of a lot of people and tempers exploded. The situation just simply exploded.”

McDonald said Edwards sustained gunshot wounds to his shoulder and neck that were “almost critical.”

Also injured Sunday were: Quanisha Tearow Stoudemire, 19, of Opp, who was treated for a wound to her foot; Tornesha Evette Fate, 27, of Dothan, who was treated for a wound to her forearm; and Kenyen Devone Nettles, 21, of Evergreen, who was treated at Andalusia Regional Hospital for a superficial wound to his leg.

McDonald said the investigation into Sunday’s shooting is still open, but added police are confident Cole was the shooter.

“He finally gave a statement advising us on what his role was in the shooting,” McDonald said. “He confessed.”

McDonald said the actual weapon, described as a small, automatic handgun, has yet to be recovered.

Covington County District Attorney Walt Merrell said that is just one reason why anyone with any information about the shooting is still being asked to call investigators.

“There are a lot of people at that club that we still haven’t spoken to,” Merrell said. “So anyone with any information is asked to call the Opp Police Department.”

McDonald said no additional arrests are expected. Even so, Merrell said it is still too early in the investigation to speculate about what sentence his office will pursue for Cole.

“This is not a death penalty-eligible case,” he said. “Life without parole would be the most we could seek. But it would be premature for me to have any opinion yet about what justice demands. There are still a lot stones that need to be looked under.”

Cole is currently being held in the Covington County Jail on a $1,500,000 bond.