The Austin Police Department (APD) arrested a 25-year-old man for murder following a shooting in East Austin. This hasn’t stopped longtime customers from coming to the defense of Yaseen Naz.
Police said on Sunday, around 11:14 p.m., officers responded to a shooting at the Shell gas station at 4509 E Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard.
When officers arrived, they found 42-year-old Marquis Demps inside a car in the gas station parking lot with gunshot wounds to his body. Police said Demps died at the scene.
Throughout the investigation, detectives determined Demps was involved in an altercation with an employee of the Shell, Naz.
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Police said after the altercation, Demps came into the store and destroyed property before leaving. It is not known what led to the disturbance. Later, Naz allegedly shot Demps.
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Despite this, customers who frequent the family-owned Shell gas station can’t say enough good things about Naz.
“Always in a good mood. Generous, respectful. Just a fun guy,” said Cortney Sherman, a distributor who works with the store.
“Every time I come here, he makes me laugh. I make him laugh like we have. That’s my boy,” said regular customer Vetrice Smith.
“He would never do anything like that unless, you know, something had to go down,” said Jojo, another regular customer.
According to court documents, Demps came into the store and caused a verbal disturbance that turned physical.
“There was some type of altercation happening inside the store, and that’s what started everything,” said Austin Police Officer Alexandra Parker early Sunday morning.
According to court documents, Naz told police Demps waved a knife at the workers, so Naz grabbed a gun, telling Demps to leave. Instead, court documents say surveillance video shows Demps trashing the store.
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Naz’s father showed FOX 7 the damaged merchandise and display cases in the store. He says Demps broke the glass at the counter and ripped out the computer and credit card machine.
“Sometimes it’s the people that are humble that you know, bad people expect them not to do anything,” said longtime customer Michael Dunn.
But police say Naz did do something. As Demps left, Naz followed him into the parking lot and shot him multiple times through his car window. Police specifically cited those circumstances in the murder warrant.
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“He don’t deserve that. He doesn’t deserve first-degree murder,” said Dunn. “I feel like it’s in a way it’s not self-defense, but it is self-defense.”
Naz is being held at the Travis County Jail on $1 million bond, facing a first-degree murder charge from Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza’s office. He’s due in court Feb. 22.
Austin has struggled with violent crime since the city council voted to slash the police department’s funding by about one-third in August 2020. That funding has since been restored, but scores of APD officers left in the wake of that funding cut, plus a perceived lack of support from the mayor and city council at the time. Response times to 9-11 calls have reportedly soared since that 2020 funding vote.