A Fort Worth man allegedly so despondent over the slaying of a friend that he shot a gun several times into the air — as a homicide sergeant happened to be driving by — now stands accused in his friend’s death.
Willie Demarcus Harris was arrested on a capital murder warrant Tuesday after homicide investigators concluded that his grieving was all for show and that he was the one who robbed and fatally shot Kendal Craddock, then later burned Craddock’s car.
“That never happens, “said homicide Sgt. Joe Loughman. “We don’t just drive down the street and have a murder suspect walk out his front door and fire off seven rounds.”
Harris, 24, was being held Wednesday in the Mansfield jail with bail set at $500,000 in the capital murder case.
Craddock’s Dodge Charger was found burning in the roadway in the 7200 block of Lowery Road in East Fort Worth about 2:30 a.m. Jan. 28. Officers ran a registration check on the car and found it belonged to Craddock’s mother, who told police that her son drove it.
Craddock’s family then began searching for the missing man and discovered his body about 5:30 that morning, lying in a pool of blood inside a house in the 3700 block of Ruthann Drive, where he was known to stay.
He’d been shot in the head.
Inside the sparsely furnished house, police found a scale, commonly used to weigh narcotic substances. Cushions from a couch and love seat were overturned, as if the house had been ransacked. Bloody tennis shoe prints were found near Craddock’s body.
Shortly after 10 a.m. that same day, homicide investigators were driving back to the crime scene after interviewing family members when shots rang out outside a house in the 3700 block of Village Creek Road, about two blocks west off the house on Ruthann.
According to the affidavit, Loughman was passing the house when he saw a man, later identified as Harris, standing in the front yard and firing multiple shots from a semi-automatic handgun.
The sergeant and two homicide detectives who had been following his car — Matt Barron and Tom O’Brien — quickly jumped out of their cars and ordered Harris to drop the handgun and get on the ground.
“Harris threw the handgun in a trash can on the south side of the residence prior to lying on the ground,” states the affidavit, written by Barron. Police seized the gun and fired shell casings and took Harris in for questioning.
While being questioned, Harris told Barron that “Kendal Craddock was his friend and that he was firing the gun because he was upset about Craddock’s death,” the affidavit stated.
“At the time, we had no idea he was our murder suspect,” Loughman said. “We thought he was just a grieving friend.”
Covering up a crime
Through their investigation, however, police determined that Harris had gone to the house on Ruthann with plans of robbing Craddock of his money and drugs.
A witness told police that Craddock was playing a video game on his cellphone in the kitchen when Harris leaned toward him, pretending to watch the video game.
A single gunshot then rang out.
The witness told police he went to the kitchen and saw Craddock on the floor and Harris going through his pockets. The witness told police that Harris stole Craddock’s keys, money and drugs before before the men fled to Harris’s nearby home.
Harris, worried he had touched too many things inside the Ruthann home, told the witness he was going to return to the residence and clean up, the affidavit states. When he later returned, he was driving Craddock’s car, the witness told police.
The witness told police the men then drove to a Walmart, where they bought two containers of lighter fluid with plans of burning the Charger in Dallas. After deciding it would be too far to walk back to Fort Worth, the pair instead drove to Lowery Road in east Fort Worth, doused the car’s interior and set it ablaze, the witness told police.
The witness told investigators that the gun police seized after Harris shot into the air was the weapon used to kill Craddock. Loughman said ballistic tests to confirm that were still pending Wednesday.
Loughman said others could face charges in the case.
Tarrant County court records show Harris has previous convictions for interfering with public duties and drug possession.
Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655