By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal
HOLLY SPRINGS – The last suspect sought in a Christmas drive-by shooting in Slayden should be back in Marshall County sometime today.
Rico Reynaldo Fleming, 22, of Moscow, Tenn., was arrested Tuesday by U.S. Marshals and local law enforcement in St. Louis, Mo. He will be charged with the murder of Derica Patterson, 16, of Memphis, and aggravated assault in the wounding of four other people in the same car with Patterson, when numerous shots were fired into it on Highway about 3 a.m. on Dec. 25.
“Our Christmas Day started out with this atrocious homicide that was committed,” said Marshall County Sheriff Kenny Dickerson. “We followed every lead that could be followed, and this is the end result.”
Since Dec. 25, Marshall County authorities received more than 150 calls offering tips about Fleming’s whereabouts. Sheriff’s investigators in both Marshall County and Fayette County, Tenn., joined federal and state authorities in a marathon effort to track them all down.
Fleming was captured at a residence in St. Louis.
“During this investigation we were able to receive some information that he had some family members in that area,” said Maj. Kelly McMillen, lead investigator for the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department.
The other people in the house exited when authorities approached, said Chris Felix of the U.S. Marshals Service.
“They admitted he was in the house,” he said. “They said he was not armed and intended to surrender.”
In addition to being wanted in Marshall County, Fleming was on the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s 10 Most Wanted list for violation of probation, aggravated assault and burglary.
One tragic irony in the case is that Fleming was already supposed to be behind bars. ABC24 in Memphis reported that the suspect, who has an extensive arrest and conviction record, was given bond on a mid-December arrest before the judge involved realized Fleming was on probation.
Dickerson said there is some hint that the shooting was related to gang affiliations of some of the parties involved. In answer to a reporter’s question on Wednesday, he also said the owner of Club Emotion, where a verbal confrontation may have preceded the shooting, is on notice that authorities will be watching for underage admissions.
Investigators have leveled a murder charge against not only Fleming, but also against the two suspects arrested earlier – Cory Fleming, 32, and Christopher Collins, 16, both of Rossville, Tenn.
Dickerson said a grand jury may adjust the charges, depending on their findings. No additional suspects are expected.