TAMPA - The man who shot and killed the manager of a Family Dollar Store over the weekend is only 23 but already has been arrested numerous times, Tampa police said Wednesday.
Investigators say the shooter is Demetrius Parks, 23; police have offered a $16,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
"He is still in this area," Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor said. "Our belief is he is armed and dangerous."
Parks has been arrested for 37 felonies and 25 misdemeanor charges, Castor said.
Police said Parks was robbing the store when he fatally shot Horsley Shorter Jr., who had retired from the Army, moved to Tampa to help his elderly mother and got a job as the Family Dollar manager.
Parks has served three years in state prison on weapons charges. Since his release March 31, he has been arrested four times for burglary, grand theft, opposing an officer and being a felon in possession of a firearm, Castor said.
The shooting occurred Sunday at the Family Dollar, 4900 N. 40th St. A man entered the store and demanded money from a clerk behind the counter, investigators said.
Shorter, a 26-year military veteran, came out of an office to help the employee when he was shot.
"He tried to rescue the clerk," Castor said.
The robber then stole a car from the parking lot that was found a few hours later at 2503 38th Ave., police said.
Friends of Shorter said he worked hard to give the Family Dollar the ambience of a Mom & Pop convenience store.
"It was a community store," Tampa Fire Rescue Capt. Lonnie Bennefield said. "He got to know the customers."
Bennefield said Shorter moved from Maryland to care for his mother when her husband died. Bennefield said his friend's death is senseless.
"He wouldn't harm anybody," Bennefield said. "If anything, he was trying to help possibly diffuse the situation or trying to help his coworker."
Castor said Shorter was a "wonderful member of our community."
"He was a stand-up guy," Castor said.
Anyone with information on Parks is asked to call (813) 309-0467.