Mother: Why wasn’t son’s alleged killer still in jail?

Darrell Emmett “D.J.” Carter Jr.

Deanna McKinney wants to know why it took her son’s slaying for the man suspected in his killing to finally be locked up, even though police say he had connections to three prior shootings on Charleston’s West Side.

Tymel McKinney, 19, was shot several times in the face while sitting on his Sixth Street porch on April 23. Darrell Emmett “D.J.” Carter Jr., 18, of South Charleston, was later charged with first-degree murder.

Carter had been charged with malicious wounding and wanton endangerment in a March 30 shooting on Stuart Street. However, those charges were dismissed during a preliminary hearing in Kanawha County Magistrate Court when the alleged victim did not show up.

Kanawha Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants said he did not have the paperwork in front of him Friday night but believes the case was dismissed because there was not enough evidence without the alleged victim’s testimony. The case would have been refiled, he said.

Deanna McKinney said she became upset when she heard Charleston Police Chief Brent Webster say Carter is connected to at least four of seven shootings reported on the West Side in March and April. Webster made the comment during a meeting Thursday night with West Side residents.

Police have said they believe several of the shootings are connected to two feuding families — the Davises and the Carters.

It appears that Carter’s relatives were involved in a shooting at Littlepage Terrace on March 24.

The following day, two men were arrested for shooting from their car window near J.E. Robins Elementary School, on Beech Avenue. Police said that incident was in retaliation for the shooting the day before.

On March 30, Carter and Dante Davis were shot during an apparent scuffle on Stuart Street, but Carter was arrested.

Davis told detectives he was approached by “an unknown black male wearing a gray hooded sweat shirt” — later identified as Carter — while walking from a Stuart Street residence to the 7-Eleven on Washington Street West to pick up his daughter. Davis told detectives he felt uneasy, although he didn’t specify why, as the man came closer. After greeting one another with “What’s up,” Davis said the man pulled a firearm from his waist. A criminal complaint states that Davis told police he grabbed the gun and a struggle began.

Davis said he heard one shot and felt pain in his leg. Two more shots were heard, after which the unidentified male reportedly fled the scene. Carter was found with wounds to his chest and left arm, police said. Carter had been held in South Central Regional Jail until the case was dismissed during a preliminary hearing before Kanawha Magistrate Pete Lopez on April 8.

Two weeks later, on April 23, police believe Carter fatally shot Tymel McKinney. Mark Gaddy, 23, of Detroit, and an unidentified juvenile also have been charged with first-degree murder.

Deanna McKinney said she believes that her son would still be alive if Carter had remained in jail on the malicious wounding and wanton endangerment charges.

“This whole thing could have been prevented,” Deanna McKinney said. “I’m not going to let that go, but that’s a whole other fight.”

Carter also has been charged with solicitation to commit murder. Police said they believe he offered two people $15,000 to kill Charleston Police Lt. Steve Cooper. Carter allegedly was unhappy with the way Cooper handled the March 30 shooting that Carter was involved in. Carter is being held in the South Central Regional Jail without bail. His case has moved on to a Kanawha County grand jury.

Reach Travis Crum at or 304-348-5163.

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