Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Arrest made in Family Dollar murder

TAMPA — Six days after police say he fatally shot the manager of a Family Dollar store during a robbery, Demetrius Parks was arrested Saturday in Orlando.

Parks, 23, was arrested by Tampa police — with assistance from U.S. Marshals and Orlando police — about 10 a.m. Saturday after the Greyhound bus he was riding pulled into a terminal in Orlando. He had been hiding out in Atlanta, but boarded a bus there late Friday night for Lakeland, where he has friends and family, according to police spokeswoman Laura McElroy.

"He is no longer a threat to our community," McElroy said Saturday afternoon, minutes after two officers led Parks from police headquarters into a cruiser and drove him to the Hillsborough County Jail. Parks, wearing blue jeans and a black t-shirt bearing the image of musician Bob Marley, did not answer questions as he was led into the car. He repeatedly said, "Call Wayne," not clarifying whom he was referring to.

Parks has some distinct identifying characteristics that were on display Saturday: a tattoo on his forehead of something with wings, and a scar extending from the right side of his mouth similar to that of the Joker character from the Batman comic books and films.

Saturday's arrest capped a weeklong manhunt for Parks, who is accused of killing Horsley Shorter Jr., 49, a 26-year military veteran friends and police called a "hero" and a "pillar of the community."

Just before 9 a.m. last Sunday, police said, Parks demanded money from a clerk at the Family Dollar store at 4900 N 40th St. in East Tampa. Shorter, who had been in the office, ran out to defend the clerk, and was shot by Parks, who then forced the clerk out of the store at gunpoint, stole the clerk's car, and fled. Shorter, whom friends called "JR," was taken to a hospital but died.

"It was a ruthless crime," McElroy said Saturday. "The day he died, Horsley Shorter was doing the right thing.

In the last week, police released an image from the store's surveillance system, in which the shooter glares directly into the camera. Several callers identified the shooter as Parks, a career criminal who has been arrested on 37 felony charges and 25 misdemeanor charges since he was 14, according to Tampa police and state records.

Saturday's arrest was Parks' fifth since his March 2012 release from state prison, where he served most of a three-year sentence for weapons-related convictions. Parks faces charges of first-degree murder, armed robbery, carjacking and attempted kidnapping, among others.

McElroy lauded community cooperation in helping police locate Parks.

"There are too many cases where people don't pick up the phone and share information with us,'' she said. "This was not one of those cases."

Parks returned to Florida, McElroy speculated, because he had no contacts elsewhere. When police boarded his bus Saturday morning, Parks jumped out an emergency exit, police said, but he was quickly apprehended. Parks slept through most of the ride from Orlando to Tampa, McElroy said, and did not admit to the crimes during questioning.

Shorter had worked at the Family Dollar store for four years after a 20-year career in the U.S. Army and a six-year stint in the Air Force. He was the seventh of eight children to Hattie Lee Shorter, 83, and since his death friends and family have regularly gathered at the East Tampa home Shorter shared with his mother.

Hattie Lee Shorter was happy to hear of Parks' arrest, relatives said.

"It calmed her down a bit," said David Shorter, 58, outside the home Saturday. Inside, a crowd was gathered around the TV.

"He was a decent man," Shorter, a forklift operator from Tampa, said of his brother. When asked how he felt about Parks' arrest, Shorter said: "He deserved it."

"Steal if you've got to steal," Shorter said, "but why do you have to take someone's life?"

Will Hobson can be reached at (813) 226-3400.

Arrest made in Family Dollar murder 07/20/13 [Last modified: Saturday, July 20, 2013 9:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. No touchdown, but fun lesson for Bucs' Adam Humphries

    Bucs

    It didn't end up being a touchdown, but one of the Bucs' biggest hustle plays in Thursday's win over Jacksonville saw receiver Adam Humphries scoop up a loose ball just before halftime, after what looked like an incompletion but was correctly ruled a Jameis Winston fumble.

    Bucs WR Adam Humphries runs to the end zone with QB Jameis Winston trailing -- his alert play wasn't a touchdown because teammates cannot advance a fumble in the final two minutes of a half.
  2. Bucs' Demar Dotson should be back from injury next week

    Bucs

    The Bucs got good news on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI showed only a mild right groin sprain and should be back at practice next week.

    Bucs tackle Demar Dotson, shown last year when he signed a three-year contract extension, should only miss a week of practice with his groin injury and can return healthy for the Bucs' season opener at Miami in three weeks. [Octavio Jones | Times]
  3. Comedy legend Jerry Lewis dead at 91

    Obituaries

    LOS ANGELES — Jerry Lewis, the manic, rubber-faced showman who jumped and hollered to fame in a lucrative partnership with Dean Martin, settled down to become a self-conscious screen auteur and found an even greater following as the tireless, teary host of the annual muscular dystrophy telethons, has died. He was …

    In this Sept. 2, 1990, file photo, entertainer Jerry Lewis makes his opening remarks at the 25th Anniversary of the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon fundraiser in Los Angeles. Lewis, the comedian whose fundraising telethons became as famous as his hit movies, has died according to his publicist. [Associated Press]
  4. Mastermind of lottery rigging scam that netted millions faces 25 years

    Nation

    DES MOINES, Iowa — For a decade, computer programmer Eddie Tipton reliably showed up for work at the central Iowa office of the Multi-State Lottery Association and earned the confidence of his co-workers, a team of technicians entrusted to build computers used to randomly pick numbers for some of the most popular …

    FILE - In this June 29, 2017, file photo, Eddie Tipton, the former Multi-State Lottery Association information security director who admitted to masterminding a scheme to rig lottery games that paid him and others $2 million from seven fixed jackpots in five states, is seen in court in Des Moines, Iowa. Tipton is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday, Aug. 22. (Rodney White/The Des Moines Register via AP, File) IADES501
  5. Pasco County man killed in wrong-way crash on New Jersey Turnpike

    Accidents

    MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. — Authorities say a Florida man driving the wrong way on the New Jersey Turnpike was killed when his SUV crashed head-on into another vehicle.