Police: Twitter dispute leads to fatal shooting at ETX mall
TYLER, TX (KLTV) - An argument over who tweeted whom turned deadly after a man fired multiple shots in the parking lot of the Broadway Square Mall in Tyler.
Officials say the shooting happened just after 9 a.m. Saturday in the mall parking lot near JC Penney.
Ricky Neal Junior,25, is charged with first-degree murder. Police said Neal Junior shot and killed 23-year-old Chris Mass.
Mass is a former standout athlete at Chapel Hill. Police said he died at the scene. Emotions were high as family members rushed the crime scene.
Desmond Black, 33, broke through the barriers trying to get to the body of Mass. Police tackled Black to the ground as he screamed that he wanted to see his cousin.
Officers quickly carried Black away from the scene, charging him with interference with public duties and possession of marijuana.
A woman pulled up to the scene crying to see Mass. She later told KLTV she is five months pregnant with his son.
Mass, a well known football and basketball star at Chapel Hill High School later joined the football team at SFA. Several friends, family members and former teammates filled the mall parking lot searching for answers behind Mass' death.
Officer Don Martin said it all started when a Henderson man, Ricky Neal Junior and his girlfriend went to the Broadway Square Mall to buy a pair of shoes.
Officer Martin said Neal Jr.'s girlfriend waited in the car while he went inside. That's when police said, Neal Jr. saw a boyfriend of a girl he had been talking to through twitter and approached him.
"So, he went over and got into a verbal confrontation with them. Through the communications between the two he said, 'Let's go outside and take care of it, let's go outside and fight,'" Martin explained.
"Then Chris got involved, Chris Mass who is the one deceased here. He said 'Hey, what's going on?" Martin said.
Officer Martin said Mass and another man followed the men outside to the parking lot.
"As they were coming out to the car where Ricky was, Ricky pulled out a gun. They all said, 'Hey, hey, hey what's going on? We're just here to fight'. And then he said, 'You want some of this? You want some of this?' and started firing rounds," Officer Martin said.
Tyler police said Mass was shot twice by the 40 caliber handgun and died at the scene. Police said Neal remained at the scene of the shooting and cooperated with police. According to police, this was not a case of self defense and nobody else displayed a weapon at the scene.
Mass' mother asked their pastor of more than 20 years to describe her son.
"Very well liked, loved by his friends. My son and he grew up playing sports together. Chris was an exceptional athlete, a great football player, a great basketball player," Pastor Marcus Jackson said.
"The most shocking is probably the fact that he really didn't have much to do with it," Pastor Jackson explained.
It is an indescribable loss for this East Texas family and a mother who now has to bury her son.
"I can't imagine. I can't even fathom in my mind how she feels right now. But we just plan to be there with her through this whole situation and hopefully through the strength of the Lord and the strength of as her family and friends she can make it through this," Pastor Jackson said.
You can read more about Christopher Mass here. We are continuing to follow this incident and will have the latest posted on KLTV.com
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