Crime

Columbus man called his boss after fatally shooting man, police said

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Do you know what to do if you accidentally dial 911? Do you know what information is crucial in an emergency? Here's what you need to know in North Texas to get the police, fire or ambulance service you need fast.
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Do you know what to do if you accidentally dial 911? Do you know what information is crucial in an emergency? Here's what you need to know in North Texas to get the police, fire or ambulance service you need fast.

A Columbus man who allegedly admitted to accidentally shooting and killing a man on Labor Day weekend pleaded not guilty in Recorder’s Court Wednesday.

Devarey Smith, 26, was arrested and charged with murder following the Sept. 1 shooting of K’Darious Bartlett at Wilson Apartments on 8th Avenue.

Bartlett, 21, was found shot to death inside an apartment. Columbus Police Sgt. Jeff Kraus testified that no weapon or shell casings were located at the scene. Several witnesses at the complex told police at least five people were seen running from the apartment following the shooting.

Several hours after the shooting, a man who said he was Smith’s boss at a local roofing company contacted police and told them that Smith wanted to turn himself in. Smith had called his boss following the shooting to tell him what happened, Kraus said.

In recorded interviews with police, Smith said someone asked him to teach them how to operate a gun. When Smith touched the gun’s safety, two shots fired. Smith said that he did not pick up the gun or touch the trigger, Kraus said.

Smith told police that he was scared. He left the scene and left the gun in the apartment. Smith refused to identify anyone else who may have been in the apartment. He also no longer had his cell phone with him, and he refused to tell police where the phone was, Kraus said.

There were no visible signs of a fight inside the apartment, but the apartment was not well kept and had little furniture. Bartlett had several smaller injuries besides the gunshot wounds, but the medical examiner did not determine what caused them. Smith told police that the two men grew up together, Kraus said.

No witnesses have come forward to confirm Smith’s account at this time, Kraus said.

Smith’s case was moved over to Muscogee Superior Court. Bond was not set.

Nick Wooten is the Southern Trends and Culture reporter for McClatchy’s South region. He is based in Columbus, Georgia at the Ledger-Enquirer but his work also appears in The (Macon) Telegraph and The Sun Herald in Biloxi.Before joining McClatchy, he worked for The (Shreveport La.) Times covering city government and investigations. He is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia.
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