Raceway Shooting Suspects Charged - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/21/05-Harrison County

Raceway Shooting Suspects Charged

The four suspects in the Hallsville Raceway shooting heard the charges against them Tuesday morning. Investigators say the charges of assault could be upgraded to murder.

The suspects are 26 year old Charles Criner, from Houston. The other 3 are from Tyler, they are 33 year old Christopher Florence, 27 year old Henry Thirkill, junior and 26 year old Tolliver Thirkill.

Investigators believe all the suspects took part in the shooting at the Hallsville Raceway. However, they are not sure which one fired the shot that killed Cedric Johnson.

Two of the men critically injured in the shooting are still fighting for their lives at a local hospital. Charles Miller was shot in the face, and Fredrick Prentise suffered two gunshot wounds to the head.

Prentise was planning to get married to his long time girlfriend.

Two weeks ago, Charles and Amanda Miller celebrated the birth of their second son. Then, this past Sunday, Amanda says she'll never forget what doctors told her about her husband's condition when she arrived at the hospital. "He lost his eye sight, that he was shot in the face. His eyes were destroyed," says Amanda.

Amanda and Charles also have a 5 year old son. Charles had a history of criminal behavior, but Amanda says that part of his life was over. Our records confirm that. His last charge in Smith County came in 1997 for a minor offense. "Charles, he was trying to be such a better person. He wasn't a trouble maker. He'd been in trouble before but he did his time and he came out a better person," says Amanda.

Fredrick Prentise's girlfriend, NeKay Jackson, says she spoke with Fredrick on the phone just before the shooting. "I'm going home. I'm going home babe. I'm on my way home and I love you. I love you," says NeKay as she recalls the last conversation she had with her boyfriend.

Investigators say the shooting was over a racing bet. Both women say they can't believe anyone could've done something so horrific. "I just hate them. I wish they wouldn't have done this for $50. Money comes and goes," says Amanda.

Amanda and the baby have not left the hospital. She's praying Charles can hear her as she encourages him to wake up. "I just keep talking to him and telling him I'm here and he's going to be all right, that me and his boys are waiting for him," says Amanda.

A fourth victim, Reginald Johnson, was shot in the leg. He was treated and released Sunday night for his injuries. Family members tell us the victims are cousins.

Amy Tatum, reporting. atatum@kltv.com

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