Local News

Half-brother of Demario Atwater killed in Durham shooting

Posted November 9, 2008 9:40 p.m. EST
Updated November 10, 2008 3:44 p.m. EST

— The younger half-brother of a murder suspect in the slaying of a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill senior was shot to death while leaving a weekend party.

Shelton Henderson Jr., 19, the half-brother of Demario James Atwater, was one of two men killed around 11:30 p.m. Saturday outside a Durham apartment at 906 Glendale Ave.

Authorities said Henderson had recently testified before a federal grand jury, which indicted Atwater on fatal carjacking and other charges.

Atwater, 22, is among two suspects charged in Orange County with first-degree murder in Eve Carson's death.

Nathan Elmoore, 17, was also killed late Saturday, and two other people – Christopher Hunter, 16, and James Downey, 21 – suffered gunshot wounds that were not considered life-threatening.

Ronnet Black, a neighbor and friend of Henderson, said Sunday that Atwater was the victim's half-brother and that their mother is devastated by the shootings.

"She's been going through so much, and she is a wonderful woman," Black said. "She is so sweet. For all of this to be happening to her, she is the most wonderful woman I've ever known."

Deamonte Tavaris Brooks, 19, and Dylan Shaquan Turner, 17, were charged in connection with the shootings.

Brooks faces two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and Turner faces a charge of possession of a firearm by a minor, police said.

Officers said the shootings resulted from a fight at a party. Witnesses said the argument was over alcohol.

"It's upsetting to me because these are babies out here and they are killing each other," Durham police Lt. R. McLaughlin said.

Black said Henderson – better known as J.J. – had a big heart.

"I think that is messed up because J.J. was a good boy. He was a good person. He was just at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Black said.

Henderson had an outstanding warrant for his arrest for failing to appear in court last month to face a marijuana charge.

Brooks was being held Sunday evening in the Durham County Jail on a $1 million bond. Turner was released into his parents' custody.

Anyone with information about the shooting was asked to call Durham police at 919-560-4440 or Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200.

Crime Stoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases, and callers never have to identify themselves.