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Wicked Hits shooter to be sentenced Tuesday

A man who unleashed a torrent of gunfire in Charlottesville last February that put a bullet into a man, riddled a car and narrowly missed a bystander will learn his sentence on Tuesday.

Having already pleaded guilty to unlawful bodily injury and possessing a firearm as a felon, 41-year-old Demetrius Brown of Palmyra will likely receive some time behind bars for last winter’s shooting outside Wicked Hits smoke and game room in the city’s Rose Hill neighborhood.

"A penitentiary sentence is inevitable," legal analyst David Heilberg told The Daily Progress. "Local judges are very concerned about gun violence."

The incident at the Harris Street business, specializing in tobacco products and now-illegal skill games, began 24 minutes after midnight the morning of Feb. 8 with a fight, initially a one-sided battle that reportedly led Wicked Hits employee Bessie Allen to press the store’s "panic alarm" even before shots rang out.

The lead investigator, Charlottesville police detective R.W. Cundiff, showed up to Room 511 in the University of Virginia Medical Center emergency department in an attempt to interview Devin Lamar Perry, the shooting victim. Perry allegedly told Cundiff that he had been in and out of Wicked Hits all day and confirmed that he’d been struck by gunfire on the right side of his back near his belt line. But that was all he would tell, according to the investigator’s report.

"Perry would not divulge any additional information and requested I leave," Cundiff wrote.

Video footage seemed to fill some of the gaps in the narrative.

Wicked Hits surveillance footage shared with police reportedly shows an exchange of words between Perry and a man in a green jacket, later identified as Brown. The video, Cundiff asserts, shows Brown leaving the building momentarily and then coming back inside.

"When he returns, he approaches Perry and they exchange words again," Cundiff wrote in his report.

Suddenly, there’s physical contact.

"Perry lunges forward and strikes the male in the green jacket with his fist," Cundiff wrote. "This knocks the male in the green jacket to the ground."

Either stunned or briefly rendered unconscious, Brown suddenly gained the ability to shield his face from a flurry of blows by Perry, according to Cundiff.

"Someone appears to try to stop Perry," Cundiff wrote. "Eventually Perry stops, and the male in the green jacket gets to his feet."

But Perry was apparently not finished, even as Brown stumbled toward the door, fell into a "wet floor" sign and attempted to exit the building.

"Perry approaches him, grabs him by the back-collar of his jacket, and forcefully pulls him backwards into the store," Cundiff wrote. "Perry throws the male in the green jacket back down to the ground."

Outside, Brown would take action of his own. According to Cundiff’s account, Brown could be seen going to a vehicle and then turning around as he chambered a bullet with the slide of a pistol and an aim in Perry’s direction.

"He points the pistol," Cundiff wrote, "and begins to shoot at him, firing what appear to be six rounds."

Three of the bullets hit a parked car where a man named Ben, who allegedly declined to give his last name to Cundiff and is the husband of a store employee, was sleeping in the driver’s seat. The sleeping bystander was not hit.

Brown was originally charged with five crimes including shooting into an occupied vehicle and malicious wounding, the latter of which calls for a sentence from five to 20 years, but his plea’s two charges are lesser, both Class 6 felonies, the lowest category, with the penalty for each ranging from one to five years.

Heilberg, the legal analyst, said that video evidence depicting the beating that Brown took may serve as a mitigating factor but won’t absolve him for the shooting.

"He took the law into his own hands," said Heilberg. "You’re supposed to call the police when you’re the victim. When you come back and shoot, you’re the defendant."

In 2009, Brown was convicted in federal court of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and illegally acquire firearms, and he appears to have served his 96-month federal sentence. His middle name variously appears as "Andre," "Andrew" and "Anthony" in court records. He has been held in Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail since his most recent arrest last year.

As for Perry, he is also no stranger to the legal system with several criminal convictions, his most recent in 2022 in Charlottesville Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court for assault and battery of a family member. However, local court files show no record of any criminal charges levied against Perry for the salvo of punches that he allegedly threw at Brown prior to the Wicked Hits shooting.


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