Police arrested a 17-year-old suspect in three recent shootings tied to a dating app primarily used by gay men, officials announced Friday.
Members of a U.S. Marshals task force arrested Damarion Trammell Degrate at about noon Friday on an attempted murder charge in one of the shootings, and Degrate is a suspect in the other two shootings, one of which was fatal, Waco police Sgt. Peter Mottley wrote in a statement. The shootings happened over about a six-hour span early Monday morning.
“Early on detectives established a link with all three shooting victims who used an online dating app primarily used by gay men,” Mottley wrote. “This investigation is ongoing.”
Degrate is accused of shooting a man at about 12:30 a.m. Monday in the Brookview neighborhood, Mottley said. The man fled to a corner store near North 23rd Street and Grim Avenue seeking help, police have previously said.
About two hours after the first shooting, police responded to a call at 34th Street and Brook Circle and found Jonathan Breeding, 23, in his vehicle with a gunshot wound. Breeding 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.
“We identified early in the investigation a link between the three shootings and the danger this suspect presented to our community,” Interim Waco Police Chief Frank Gentsch wrote in a statement. “The arrest today was the result of our Special Crimes Detectives’ tireless efforts, along with our support staff, including our Crime Scene Unit and Computer Forensic Unit. I also want to thank the FBI and the United States Marshal Service for their assistance in these cases.”
In the statement, police urge caution when using dating applications.
“We strongly recommend arranging online dating meetings in public venues,” Mottley wrote.
More details about the allegations against Degrate were not available Friday. He remained in McLennan County Jail with bond listed at $200,000.