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Suspect arrested in shooting death at Waco-area party

Suspect arrested in shooting death at Waco-area party


Police on Tuesday arrested the suspect in a fatal shooting that sent a crowd at a party early Sunday morning scrambling for safety, McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara said.

DeOtis Sanders-Gray, 24, of Waco, shot and killed Scotty Eugene Stephens, 25, of Waco, shortly before 2 a.m. Sunday, at a party in an open area on Orchard Lane that followed a horseback trail ride, McNamara said.

Deotis Sanders-Gray


When deputies arrived, there was a large crowd, and Stephens was down with a gunshot wound to the head and injuries from being hit by a vehicle, he said. Stephens was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Witnesses reported Sanders-Gray had pulled up to the party wearing camouflage and carrying an AK-47 rifle and opened fire, hitting Stephens and several vehicles, McNamara said. Several people got in vehicles to flee, and one of the fleeing vehicles hit Stephens, he said.

Investigators believe Sanders-Gray targeted Stephens.

At the time of the shooting, Sanders-Gray was under indictment on three felony charges and was free on bond, McNamara said.

“That is the sad part about it, he should have never been out on the streets,” McNamara said. “He gunned him down in cold blood.”

Sanders-Gray had been indicted in September last year on charges of aggravated assault, aggravated assault of a pregnant person and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. The indictment alleges he fired a gun multiple times in the air and pointed it at a pregnant woman and then punched her in the face, causing her to fall backward.

The punishment ranges for the assault charges are enhanced by a 2016 burglary of a habitation conviction.

In the time between the Sunday morning shooting and Sanders-Gray’s arrest on a murder charge Tuesday, he was in McLennan County’s 54th State District Court for a hearing Monday in which his attorney withdrew from his case and the court appointed a new attorney.

“This guy is the poster boy for what is wrong with low bonds on hardcore criminals,” McNamara said. “This murder never should have happened. He should not have been out walking around. It’s a travesty and it is disgusting.”

Leading up to his arrest Tuesday, the sheriff’s office Fugitive Apprehension and Special Tasks unit and U.S. Marshals had Sanders-Gray under surveillance, McNamara said. He was arrested after being spotted near Sanger Avenue and Highway 6, and he had a firearm at the time of his arrest, he said.

Sanders-Gray remained in McLennan County Jail on Wednesday with bond listed at $1 million.

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Hailing from the Chicagoland area, Amaris E. Rodriguez is a 2019 graduate of Northeastern Illinois University and formerly worked the Journal & Topics news organization in Des Plains, Illinois.

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