ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

The day before a fatal shooting at the Kanku's convenience store on Wilcox Boulevard, the man later charged with murder was given a 30-day suspended jail sentence and put on probation by a local judge.

His crime? Unlawful carrying of a firearm.

Police now say Jamaal Byrd, 29, fatally shot Terrance Etchison and even was caught on video committing the crime.

Hamilton County General Sessions Court Judge Christie Mahn Sell handed down Mr. Byrd's sentence on the misdemeanor firearm charge last Friday morning. By Sunday he had been charged with first-degree murder.

The fatal shooting was the second in seven weeks at the Kanku's, a store some Brainerd residents say has been plagued by violence. Chattanooga police have theorized that the store's location between two rival gang territories likely is what makes it a magnet for criminal activity.

Several witnesses to the latest killing gathered in court Wednesday morning, expecting to testify at Mr. Byrd's preliminary hearing. Hamilton County prosecutors also hastily filed a motion to revoke his probation.

But the hearing was rescheduled for March 24, when witnesses are expected to describe what led to the killing and prosecutors will argue for probation revocation.

Preliminary police reports indicate the suspect was arguing with the victim inside the store. They moved outside and Mr. Etchison was shot to death in the Kanku's parking lot, reports state.

Mr. Byrd's defense attorney, Brian O'Shaughnessy, said his punishment on the unlawful carrying charge was standard for someone with no violent criminal history.

Records show Mr. Byrd only has been charged once before in General Sessions Court on domestic violence charges. Authorities dropped those charges last fall.

Unlawful carrying of a firearm usually means the carrier does not have the proper permits for the weapon. Mr. Byrd had to forfeit the weapon in the misdemeanor case. Mr. O'Shaughnessy said it was not the one used in the Kanku's killing.

In the first of the two recent shootings at the Kanku's, Jonathan Lawrence, 42, was pumping gas on Jan. 9 when he was gunned down. Montez Davis -- a known gang member, according to police -- is charged with first-degree murder in the case.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT