Dallas police have arrested a man they say is the LA Fitness shooter, and they’ve charged him with first degree murder. He is currently being held in Lew Sterrett Jail.
Police say Dekelvin Michael Henderson, a 44-year-old Black male, shot Antonio Demond Royal, 40, in the parking lot of the gym around 11 a.m. Sept. 6. They continue to investigate details of the case, homicide detective Phillip Wheeler said today.
Eyewitnesses at the gym said the men were exchanging harsh words in the minutes leading up to the shooting, and neighbors in the parking lot and surrounding homes heard multiple rapid fire gunshots before calling police. Royal was pronounced dead at the hospital.
A few days after the shooting, an anonymous caller phoned Advocate offices to say he’s a friend of the shooter’s and to share his claims of self-defense. The shooter, he said, has worked hard to extricate himself from “a past he’s not proud of.” While working out at the gym, he happened upon Antonio’s brother, with whom he shared a criminal past. The elder Royal was “getting up in the shooter’s face, talking crazy mad and baiting him” and wanting to fight. The caller said the shooter apologized and retreated to the locker room for 20-30 minutes to let the situation calm down. As he was leaving, Antonio Royal ran up and shot at him in the parking lot. The shooter pulled out his own gun and killed Antonio Royal. The elder Royal was heard by witnesses screaming, “Tonio, don’t die.”
According to the caller, the elder Royal phoned his brother and asked him to come to the LA Fitness parking lot and kill the shooter. He simply missed his target.
“[Antonio] was there to kill the shooter,” the anonymous caller told me. “What’s right is right, and what’s wrong is wrong. It was a case of self-defense. The shooter thought he was going to die. He is really messed up over this. He actually moved out of the apartment complex they both lived in so he could stay away from him. To me, the brothers had a conspiracy to commit murder.”
Advocate cannot confirm all aspects of the caller’s story, although some dovetail with accounts by witnesses inside and outside the gym. Police have not released details of the investigation which led them to charge Henderson with first degree murder. They said none of LA Fitness’ security cameras were in working order on the day of the shooting.
If you have additional information in the LA Fitness case, please contact Detective Phillip Wheeler at 214-671-3686 or firstname.lastname@example.org.