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Affidavits: Shooting suspect used dating app to 'lure' victims

Affidavits: Shooting suspect used dating app to 'lure' victims

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A teenager charged with the attempted murder of a Waco man used a fake profile on an online dating app for gay men to “lure” the man to another part of town and then shot him point-blank in his chest, an arrest affidavit released Monday states.

Damarion Trammell Degrate, 17, of Waco, is also being investigated in a nearby murder that occurred nearby and soon afterward in the early hours of Aug. 17, a search warrant affidavit for his phone states. Waco police have said Degrate is also a suspect in a third shooting that left a man injured early that same morning. Police said all three incidents involved the dating app, which they declined to name.

Damarion Degrate

Degrate

Authorities on Friday arrested Degrate on a second-degree felony charge of attempted murder in the first shooting.

The arrest affidavit states that Degrate and the first victim first communicated through the app Aug. 16, arranging for the victim to pick up Degrate at his home on Landmark Drive, where he lived with his grandmother.

The two then drove to the 1300 block of Hillside Street, where the victim stayed in the car while Degrate got out under the guise of buying drugs, the affidavit states.

“After being gone for several minutes, the defendant (Degrate) returned to the vehicle where the victim was waiting, opened the passenger door and shot the victim in the chest at point blank range,” the affidavit states. “The victim was able to drive off and eventually stop at a gas station less than one mile away.”

The injured man was taken to a local hospital, where he was in critical condition, the affidavit states. Police took fingerprints off the victim’s car.

Police later learned the phone number Degrate used to communicate with the first victim was fake and was created through an online messaging app. The profile Degrate used for the dating website was also described as fake, the affidavit states.

About two hours later, police believe Degrate arranged a meeting with Jonathan Breeding, 23, after communicating with him through the same app. Breeding, who was also shot in his car near the 1400 block of North 34th Street, later died at a local hospital.

Police responded to another call at about 6 a.m. and found a third man with a gunshot wound near North 36th Street and Grim Avenue.

Police said last week detectives have established that all three shooting victims used an online dating app primarily used by gay men.

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