Police: Tampa Family Dollar murder fugitive arrested in Orlando

TAMPA, Fla. - The suspect in the shooting death of a Family Dollar store manager faced a Tampa judge Sunday morning where he was denied bond.

Demetrius Parks, 23, was arrested Saturday after fleeing from Tampa to Atlanta to Orlando, according to Tampa Police.

Parks is facing a long list of charges that includes 1st-degree murder, armed robbery, and carjacking.

He's accused of shooting Horsley "J.R." Shorter Jr., 49, the manager of the Family Dollar on 40th Street in Tampa on July 14 when he came to help an employee was being held at gunpoint.

Police say the suspect shot Shorter, forced the other employee at gunpoint out to the victim's vehicle, opened the trunk and ordered the employee to get inside. "The employee pleaded with him and the suspect eventually closed the trunk and stole the car," Tampa Police spokesperson Laura McElroy said following the murder.

The stolen car, a white 1995 Mitsubishi Mirage, was found Monday, abandoned near 2503 38th Ave.

Shorter was a 20 year military veteran and was beloved in the community. When ABC Action News informed Horsley's sister of Parks' arrest by phone Saturday, she sighed and said she was relieved. "I really wanted it to be done before his funeral service next weekend," she said. "I would have been terrified" if he hadn't been arrested, she said.

Tampa Police and the US Marshals Fugitive Task Force arrested Parks as he jumped from a Greyhound bus with law enforcement moving in as it arrived at an Orlando Greyhound terminal off John Young Parkway.

According to McElroy, Parks fled Tampa to Atlanta following the murder and had been hiding there until he took a bus bound for Lakeland, via Orlando, on Friday night.

When the bus arrived at the Orlando terminal around 10 a.m. Saturday, Tampa Police, the US Marshal Fugitive Task Force and Orlando Police surrounded the bus. "When officers boarded the bus, Parks jumped out an emergency exit window," McElroy said.

Parks was taken down with the assistance of an Orlando Police officer.

Following his arrest in Orlando, Parks was driven back to Tampa Police headquarters in downtown Tampa for questioning.

He was led from the building to a police cruiser, through a group reporters and photographers, where he made several statements concerning a person by the name of "Wayne":

"Call Wayne," he said  A reporter asked, "Why did you shoot him?"

"Wayne's world," he replied. "Call Wayne. Call Wayne." 

A reporter asked, "Demetrius, did you know he was a military veteran of 20 years?"

"Call Wayne."

He was taken to Hillsborough County Jail and officially booked into the facility around 6:20 p.m., according to the jail's website.

Parks has a history of 37 felony charges and already served a 3-year prison term. Tampa Police believe he has been on a crime spree since he was released from prison in March.

"Community cooperation played a critical role in the investigation," McElroy said in a statement following Parks' arrest. "The department received dozens of tips after Clear Channel and CBS Outdoor donated space on 30 digital billboards. It was tips from the community that helped police identify Parks and find the car he stole after killing the victim."

Though Tampa Police received numerous leads from the community, McElroy said no one gave a tip leading directly to Parks, and therefore, no one is known to be eligible for a $16,000 reward in the murder investigation.

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