‘Witnesses’ charged with murder in shooting outside DeKalb Kroger

Chalante Thomas

Chalante Thomas

When police arrived, Daryl Phillips, 21, lay dying in a car, his head rested on the lap of Chalante Thomas.

Thomas, also 21, and Demario Cotton, 28, presented themselves to officers as witnesses to only the aftermath of the shooting, according to a newly-released police report. The crime happened in the area of Kroger on Wesley Chapel Road.

Now, Thomas and Cotton are charged with murder in the Jan. 13 death.

Asked why, DeKalb police didn’t provide information on the reason for the charges.

Warrants obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution say the incident was caught on video. The documents also say Phillips was shot several times in the back.

Thomas and Cotton are also charged with armed robbery for allegedly stealing more than an ounce of marijuana with a handgun.

In the police report, Thomas and Cotton, referred to repeatedly in the document as “the witnesses,” said they’d planned to meet the victim that night.

They said they pulled up to the Kroger around 9 p.m. and heard gunshots while waiting for Phillips, who soon came running, screaming that he’d been shot.

Phillips got in the car, according to the suspects’ account, and Thomas drove to the parking lot of the Dunkin Donuts nearby.

There they called 911.

Police separated Thomas from Cotton and spoke with both.

In the parking lot near Kroger, an officer found a small amount of marijuana and a red bandanna, the report said.

The police quickly heard that the McDonald’s across the lot had security cameras.

Thomas has been in the county jail since last Friday, without bond. Cotton, a Decatur resident, isn’t in the DeKalb jail, but it wasn’t immediately clear Friday if he had been arrested elsewhere.

NOTE: Due to an apparent  error in a law enforcement database, a previous version of this article included a photo incorrectly identified as Cotton.

Like DeKalb County News Now on Facebook | Follow on Twitter and Instagram