Bricktown shootings suspect grew up around violence

by Nolan Clay Published: June 3, 2012
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The teenager accused of shooting eight people after an Oklahoma City Thunder playoff game has been exposed to violence all his life.

Avery Eugene Myers Jr., 16, was kicked out of school for fighting, relatives say. He watched gang movies on TV, not children's shows, his grandfather recalls.

His parents split up in January after years of hostility. “Just want it to be over — 17 years of it,” the mother told a judge in January in a request for a victim's protective order. They since may have reconciled, records show.

Both his father and mother have been arrested multiple times, police and court records show. The mother was evicted in May from her last residence for not paying the rent. They have eight children in all. One of their boys has cancer, relatives say.

“I'm not going to tell you no lie. The family's been in complete, utter chaos,” said the grandfather, Oscar Eubanks, 60, of Oklahoma City. “It's a mess ... It's been going on for years, sir.”

Myers is accused of shooting eight people in Bricktown the night of May 21. The victims were hit shortly after the Thunder advanced to the Western Conference Finals by beating the Los Angeles Lakers.

Myers had been at a watch party in Thunder Alley, a few blocks away, beforehand, witnesses said. An Oklahoma City police detective, Ken Whitebird, reported Myers, after his arrest, “confessed to shooting into the crowd” at Bricktown.

The shootings led officials to cancel watch parties at Thunder Alley. Those watch parties had attracted thousands of fans and had become a source of pride in Oklahoma City. Television coverage of the May 21 game on TNT featured aerial views of the cheering crowd watching the game on a giant screen outside the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

“Wow, look at that, man,” one TNT analyst said of the crowd after the game. “What a scene,” another said.

Eight felony counts

Myers is charged in Oklahoma County District Court with eight felony counts of shooting with intent to kill. Police arrested him the evening of May 22. He is being held in Oklahoma County jail. He is listed in jail records as a resident of Oklahoma City.

Police also arrested Rodney Dewon Hill, 19, of Warr Acres, during the investigation. Hill was not charged and is now considered a witness in the case. Hill has been freed from jail.

One victim, Norman M. Richards II, was hospitalized in critical condition for days. Richards remains in the intensive care unit at OU Medical Center. He was listed Saturday in good condition.

Police said the other victims did not have serious injuries. A police detective last week still was trying to determine where the gun came from.

Police do not believe Myers was in a gang. He has never been in Oklahoma County jail before, jail records show.

His grandfather saw him the day of the game. The grandfather said “Junior,” a Thunder fan, was talking about going to Thunder Alley.

The grandfather said Myers might have been influenced by the other teenagers who went with him to the event.

“He's always been a respectful kid,” the grandfather said. “Some thing got instilled in that kid's mind to make him go astray. Where he got the gun from, I do not know. ... I've never seen him with a gun. He never talked about a gun.

“I don't know if he was in a gang. I don't think he was because, really, he stayed at home all the time. ... Whenever I would go over there ... they wouldn't be watching kid movies, they'd be watching gangbanging movies ... and listening to rap music,” the grandfather said. “How do you let your kids watch that?”

The grandfather and a great-grandmother said Avery Myers Jr. was suspended from school over a dispute with another student.

“They say Avery hit him ... and broke his wrist,” said the great-grandmother, Doria Myers, 72, of Oklahoma City.

Myers was a sophomore at Putnam City West High School but has not been on campus since Aug. 24, just days after the school year began, a spokesman for the school district said.

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by Nolan Clay
Sr. Reporter
Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,...
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