Kroger killing suspect had extensive record, recent prison release

Police investigate the scene of a fatal shooting in the parking lot of a Kroger on Ponce. BEN GRAY/BGRAY@AJC.COM

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Police investigate the scene of a fatal shooting in the parking lot of a Kroger on Ponce. BEN GRAY/BGRAY@AJC.COM

An Atlanta man recently released from prison has been arrested in the fatal shooting of a construction worker outside the Kroger supermarket on Ponce de Leon Avenue in Atlanta earlier this month.

Atlanta police say they arrested Demarius Thompson, 25, without incident at 1:15 p.m. Thursday while he was eating lunch at a Popeyes Restaurant at Lee and Oak streets in Atlanta.

Thompson is charged with killing Joshua R. Richey, 38, March 10 when he and a co-worker saw an unknown man inside their pickup truck at 725 Ponce de Leon Ave.

Richey went up to the truck and hit the window of the cab, and the man inside shot Richey through the truck’s window, killing him.

Police released security video of a black BMW 3-series with tinted windows and possibly a dealer drive-out tag that was possibly involved in the crime.

Police said they received a Crimestoppers tip on the truck the morning after the shooting and located it the next day in College Park.

They are still looking for the driver.

Deputy Chief Darrel Tolleson said police believe Thompson and the driver were trying to steal the tools from inside the construction workers truck.

Police said Thompson has an extensive criminal record and had only recently been released from custody before the shooting at Kroger. He is expected to make his first court appearance at 11 a.m. Friday.

Thompson has twice served in state prison, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections. Most recently, he was released from prison in January 2014 after serving about 17 months following a conviction for terroristic threats and acts, records showed. The same day he was released from prison, Thompson was booked into the Fulton County jail on other outstanding charges.

Thompson was also in prison from June 2009 until October 2010 on theft and obstruction charges. Sine 2008, Thompson has booked into the Fulton jail 13 times, records showed.

Richey, a father of four from the Birmingham suburb of Hayden, Ala., was employed by RGWilliams Construction, which set up a fund to help Richey’s family.

Kroger's Atlanta Division offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who shot and killed Richey.

The shooting happened at the grocery store known in the past as “Murder Kroger” because of previous crimes in the neighborhood.

Staff writer Alexis Stevens contributed to this article.