Prosecutors show video of September shooting outside Chattanooga bar that killed one

Staff photo by Ellen Gerst / Prosecutors play video from a Sept. 24 shooting at Kay's Tavern in Hamilton County General Sessions Court on Wednesday. The shooting left Tavarious Johnson dead, and police charged Deangelo Lovingood with murder.

Videos played in a Hamilton County courtroom Wednesday appear to show a September shooting outside a Chattanooga bar that killed one man.

Deangelo Lovingood, 33, is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the homicide of Tavarious Johnson, 23, outside Kay's Tavern.

(READ MORE: Authorities investigating deadly Bonny Oaks Drive shooting)

Johnson was funny, "smart as a whip" and had been talking about wanting children before his death, family members previously told the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Lovingood also faces charges of being a felon carrying a firearm and reckless endangerment, since others were nearby at the time of the shooting.

Judge Alex McVeagh raised Lovingood's bond from $2 million to $3 million Wednesday, prompting gasps from members of Johnson's family in the courtroom.

"I think the $2 million bond currently set is too low," McVeagh said.

The judge also bound Lovingood's case to a grand jury, which will decide whether to proceed with the case in criminal court.

Chattanooga police Detective Marina Wilkerson testified Wednesday that investigators used social media posts and body camera footage from past encounters with Lovingood to tie him to the homicide.

(READ MORE: Man arrested in connection with September homicide outside Chattanooga bar)

But attorneys representing Lovingood said there are a few key differences between Lovingood's appearance and the images and videos used by investigators.

In court Wednesday, Lovingood appeared with short hair, glasses and a light tattoo on his forehead. A mugshot taken earlier in 2022 also showed him with short hair and the tattoo, investigators said.

A video posted to Instagram in October 2022, nearly a year before the shooting and four months after that mugshot, shows a man with long dreadlocks, no glasses and no visible tattoo on his forehead.

Steven Brown, Lovingood's attorney, questioned why the tattoo was not visible and whether Lovingood would have been able to grow long dreads in that four-month period.

"That's not my client," Brown said during Wednesday's hearing. "I think it's obvious."

The man is wearing the same jersey the shooting suspect is wearing in surveillance video shown of the incident Sept. 24, Wilkerson said. The Instagram account was tied to a Facebook account that appeared linked to Lovingood, she told the court Wednesday. The suspect on the surveillance footage was also not wearing glasses.

Although the Instagram video was uploaded in October 2022, it could have been recorded any time before that — possibly including before Lovingood got the forehead tattoo or cut his hair, Wilkerson said.

"I don't believe the identification was made purely on an Instagram post," McVeagh said while sending Lovingood's case to the grand jury.

Surveillance videos showed people standing and walking around outside Kay's Tavern on Bonny Oaks Drive, and the suspect shooting Johnson behind parked cars near the bar's entrance. A video from a gas station near the bar also showed the suspect, identified as Lovingood by police, wearing the jersey.

Contact Ellen Gerst at or 423-757-6319.

  photo  Staff photo by Ellen Gerst / Prosecutors show a social media post in a Hamilton County General Sessions courtroom Wednesday, which they say links Deangelo Lovingood to the Sept. 24 homicide of Tavarious Johnson.