Affidavit: Murder suspect said he was trying to protect friend

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A newly released court document is providing information about how police investigated the fatal shooting of a teenager at McAdams Park earlier this month.

The victim, Marion Wheaton, 15, of Wichita, was shot just before 6 p.m. Nov. 6 while in the 1400 block of North Ohio.

Malick Garrett, 18, was later arrested and charged with second-degree murder.

According to a court affidavit, Garrett told police he was at the park to protect a friend and he only fired his gun after a gun was fired at that friend.

The affidavit details police responding to the shooting call and finding Wheaton and two friends at the park. Wheaton was the only one injured. He died at the hospital.

The detective who wrote the document said that Wheaton’s friends said they went to the park to play basketball. From their account, police got the description of a dark, loud SUV arriving, of two men getting out of it and approaching the boys and saying, “Come here,” of the boys seeing something, possibly a gun, and trying to run, and of four to five gunshots being fired.

Wheaton said, “I’m hit.”

One of the boys looked back and told police he saw the silhouette of a handgun in the driver’s hand before the two men left in the SUV.

According to the detective, one of the friends saw a gun next to Wheaton’s body. The friend took that gun and a gun the other friend had in his waistband and hid them.

Police say they found five 9 mm shell casings at the scene. They also found two handguns about 100 yards east of where Wheaton fell.

A father who was dropping off a child for sports practice at the park also talked to police. He told them about seeing the SUV unoccupied but running, hearing a series of gunshots, and then seeing the SUV leave the park. He said the vehicle had a bad muffler.

Wheaton’s mother had been notified of the shooting and quickly arrived at the park. She found a single, white sneaker in the street and picked it up, thinking it was her son’s shoe. When she realized it was not, she gave it to police.

The affidavit goes on to say that one of Wheaton’s friends gave police Wheaton’s cell phone. The friend said they used the phone to call Wheaton’s parents and 911.

Police looked at the phone messaging application and found a conversation which appeared to be between Wheaton and one of the friends discussing meeting someone at the park. Police only identify that person by the initials SB.

The detective writes, “Using various slang terms they discuss bringing guns to the park to shoot and/or rob SB.”

Police say there was also a message from SB about going to the park to fight one of Wheaton’s friends.

Investigators found SB who is 15 years old.

They interviewed SB’s mother who told them SB got home at 6:25, that he was dropped off by a man in a dark, loud SUV and that her son was missing his shoes.

SB’s mother said her son had to call the driver to return because he had left his backpack in the SUV. The driver returned and SB got his backpack.

Police got a search warrant for SB’s home. In his bedroom, they say they found a phone that had received a threatening message, clothing that matched the description of the passenger of the dark SUV, and a single white shoe that was the same size and style as the one found at the crime scene.

The detective says they examined the phone found in SB’s room and found a phone number that matched the time he called the SUV driver regarding the backpack.

The phone number was already in the police database as being associated with Malick Garrett. Police say the database also has documented associations between Garrett and SB.

Police arrested Garrett the next day during a traffic stop. They say he was in the backseat of a vehicle they pulled over, that there was a 9 mm Glock handgun near him, and that he had a green botanical substance they believed to be marijuana.

According to the affidavit, Garrett told police he went to the park with SB, “for the purpose of SB to physically fight with a male who is believed to have stolen a gun from SB.”

The document goes on to say Garrett went with SB to “protect” him and that he armed himself with a handgun, the same Glock that was found near him.

The detective writes that Garrett said, when they got to the park, they met with a group of three others and SB “squared up” with one of them. He said SB took a swing and missed.

According to the affidavit, Garrett claims the male that SB swung at pulled a handgun and fired a single shot toward SB and then Garrett pulled his gun and fired back. Garrett allegedly told police he fired more shots when the male continued to hold the gun. In all, police say he admitted to firing four shots before leaving with SB.

Garrett told police that SB lost a shoe but they left it there. Police say Garrett said he did not know anyone was hit by the gunfire until he saw it on social media.

Police processed the SUV that was used the night of the shooting. There was a bullet hole in the rear passenger side. Police say the bullet went through the rear wheel well, into the passenger compartment and into the front passenger seat. Police found a single projectile and removed it from the seat. The affidavit does not give any other information about that bullet.

Garrett remains in the Sedgwick County Jail on $200,000 bond. His next court date is Nov. 27.

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