HAMPTON, Ga. -- The fatal shooting of a teen killed after posting popular shoes for sale on Instagram was self-defense, according to police.
On Nov. 27, 18-year-old Jaadyn Parks was shot and killed about a mile from his Hampton home after meeting up to sell a pair of Jordan 1s that he posted on Instagram. The shooter and his girlfriend fled the scene but were one of the many people who called 911 to report the shooting.
After an investigation by Hampton police, the Henry County District Attorney decided Tuesday not to charge the shooter, 23-year-old Cash Davis. Hampton Police Chief Derrick Austin said the shooting was self-defense.
According to statements to police by Davis and witnesses, and according to ballistic evidence and other evidence detectives gathered, this is the timeline of events Chief Austin put together that led to the shooting:
Davis sees Parks' post on Instagram. Davis and Parks exchange messages and Davis agrees to buy the rare pair of shoes for $125.
Davis drives with his girlfriend, Keyondra Powell, to the meet-up location in Hampton, near the entrance to a subdivision less than a mile from Parks’ home. Parks walks there. It’s just after 10 p.m.
Davis is sitting in his car, half in and half out, trying on the shoes when Parks puts a handgun to Davis’s head and demands the cash that Davis had brought with him. Davis has a Smith and Wesson 9mm semi-automatic handgun in a holster in his front seat and manages to get it free and shoot Parks.
Davis shoots Parks eight times and speeds off with Powell, both frightened, Chief Austin says, for their lives. Davis immediately calls 911.
According to police, evidence backs up Davis’ story. For example, Parks' autopsy shows that the angle of fire of the eight bullets--and the probable distance of fire--are consistent with Davis saying Parks was standing over him, and Davis saying he shot Parks from a close distance.
"He said he was sitting in the car, he was taking the shoes off after he had tried the shoes on. And at that time Mr. Parks stuck a gun to his head and demanded the money and the shoes," Austin said.
Seven shell casings from Davis’s gun were also found on the street where Parks and his gun were found, the eighth shell casing was in Davis’ car. Chief Austin said Parks gun was loaded, but had not been fired that night.
Chief Austin and his detective met with the Henry County district attorney Tuesday to present the evidence. The D.A. concluded that no charges will be filed at this time and that this case will be treated as self-defense. He said it appears Parks committed criminal attempt of armed robbery.
Austin said he hurts for Davis, and he hurts for Parks and his family. He said Parks had no known police record and that Parks made a bad and fatal decision that night.
He described Davis as "distraught" after the shooting.
"I mean they went from just fine purchasing shoes to, you know, having to take a life and very, very upset," Austin said.
"Very tragic. I mean it's tragic that that we've lost a young man who made a bad decision, and it's tragic for the young man that took his life. I mean he's going to live with this the rest his life. Even though it's a self-defense case, it's something he's going to have to live and deal with for forever."
The pair met up at night on a residential street where there were not many people around. Chief Austin is once again urging people to meet strangers in public, crowded places--or at any one of the many, many meet-up locations at police stations almost everywhere--to compete their online transactions .
"If you're going to buy something off-line you need to meet in a safe location," Austin said. "We have one here in our parking lot, there's a 24-hour video surveillance--it's lit up. I mean, if you're going to do these kinds of transactions, they need to be in a safe location."
He said these transactions are risky but there are safe ways to minimize the risk.
"You're taking a big chance," he said. "Always have other people with you, but I still think that, if you're going to do it, you need to go somewhere where there's other witnesses around or it's somewhere where there's video to protect yourself."