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Suspect in tire store shooting pleads innocent

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A Hot Springs man charged with multiple felonies for allegedly shooting two men Monday during an altercation at a local tire store pleaded not guilty to all charges Wednesday in Garland County District Court.

Demarion Deshuan Banks, 25, appeared via video before Judge Ralph Ohm and pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree battery, punishable by up to 20 years in prison, and four counts of aggravated assault, punishable by up to six years, in connection with the shooting behind Tire Express, 635 E. Grand Ave., shortly before 4 p.m. Monday.

Banks was arrested shortly before 4:30 p.m. Monday after driving from the scene of the shooting to the Hot Springs Police Department about three blocks to the west, pulling into the front parking lot in his bullet-riddled car, where he spoke to detectives and reportedly admitted to the shooting before being taken into custody.

Banks was initially held on $100,000 bond, but Ohm reduced it to $75,000 at Wednesday's hearing. According to court records, Banks' mother and numerous family members appeared in court at the hearing. Ohm issued a court order barring Banks from any contact with the two shooting victims, identified Tuesday as Jordan Welsh, 25, and Jonathan Mason, 24, both of Hot Springs, three other bystanders Banks allegedly fired at, and the tire store itself.

Hot Springs police Officer 1st Class Joey Williams, the department's public relations officer, said Wednesday Welsh and Mason remained in "very critical" condition at a local hospital.

Ohm also issued a gag order limiting pretrial publicity in the case and scheduled a felony review hearing for Dec. 3 to determine if the charges against Banks will be bound over to Garland County Circuit Court.

The shooting is still under investigation and anyone who may have witnessed the incident is asked to call police at 501-321-6789, police said in a release Tuesday.

According to the probable cause affidavit, at around 3:51 p.m. Monday officers responded to a shooting that had just occurred at Tire Express. Officers found the two victims with numerous gunshot wounds to their upper torsos.

Welsh's wife, 27, another female witness, and a male witness who were all at the scene at the time of the shooting told officers a black male, later identified as Banks, had shown up at the business and shot both victims during an altercation.

After shooting the two men, Banks allegedly pointed the gun at Welsh's wife, the two witnesses and a fourth person who was not involved in the initial incident and began shooting in their direction, striking a vehicle. No one else was injured.

The female witness noted her 2-month-old child was sitting in her car, which was parked adjacent to the vehicle that was struck by gunfire. In earlier reports, police noted the one bystander fired back at Banks before he fled the scene.

Based on court records, Banks had no prior felony arrests in Garland County, only misdemeanor and traffic violations. He was arrested on April 9, 2018, on a misdemeanor charge of carrying a weapon, involving a 9-mm handgun. He pleaded guilty on April 17 and was sentenced to one year in jail, with the entire sentence suspended, and fined $285. He also forfeited the gun to police.

Local on 10/11/2018

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