Devon Maurice Fowler turned around and flashed a quick smile just before his first hearing before a judge on the charge of killing a 7-year-old boy.
Theo Munerlyn, the father of Kamari Munerlyn, was sitting on a wooden bench in a small seating area that looks into the courtroom at the Durham County jail.
“I’ve seen the man smirk, and just that alone made me furious,” Munerlyn said afterward. “I just wanted to lay hands on him, but I know I can’t.”
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In a quick hearing Wednesday, a judge ordered Fowler be held in jail without bail.
Members of two U.S. Marshals task forces arrested Fowler, 28, of Durham on murder and conspiracy charges Tuesday night at the Extended Stay America on Bluestone Drive in Raleigh, police said.
“He’s behind these bars now,” Munerlyn, also 28, of Durham said. “Hopefully he doesn’t see another day of light.”
Munerlyn said he thinks the district attorney’s office should seek the death penalty.
“My son’s not alive right now, so why not?” Munerlyn said.
Kamari’s grandmother Lisa Gerald said she hopes justice will be served for the first-grader who attended Eastway Elementary School.
“He was 7. He had the most beautiful smile. He never hurt nobody,” said Gerald, 52, of Phoenix, Arizona. “Why? I just want to know why did you do this.”
Gerald hopes Fowler turns in others who were involved, she said.
“No child should be put in this situation,” she said.
Munerlyn thinks the shooting was gang related, he said, and that the target was the boyfriend of Kamari’s mother, Felicia Parker.
“I am 100 percent sure,” he said. “I know what kind of man we are talking about. ... I just know this is all because of him.”
In an interview with ABC11, Fowler said he isn’t responsible for the shooting and isn’t in a gang.
Parker, 26, has said she has been the target of three other shootings, including one in which she was shot, since 2016. Parker has also said she thought her boyfriend might have been the target of the Sunday shooting.
Kamari, Parker, her boyfriend and seven others had piled into a gray Honda Pilot after swimming at the Chapel Tower apartment complex in Durham. They were headed to Parker’s brother’s home to grill some hot dogs. They noticed another vehicle following them on Hillandale Road, which sped up next to the SUV and fired several shots.
Kamari, who was pronounced dead at the hospital, was the only one injured.
Munerlyn doesn’t know Fowler other than being Facebook friends with a couple of the mothers of Fowler’s children, Munerlyn said.
Munerlyn isn’t in a gang, he said.
“I just can’t believe this is happening to me,” he said. “My son didn’t deserve this. He really didn’t. He didn’t deserve this at all. I am hoping he didn’t feel no pain, and he is with the Lord now. ”