Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correct the status of charges in the case. We regret the error.
JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL) – The man accused of firing several shots at the Monarch Apartments complex on New Year’s Day – where a 19-year-old was found with ultimately fatal gunshot wounds – appeared in court Tuesday.
Dae’Vo Amir Jennings Worrell arrived in Washington County General Sessions Court around 1:45 p.m. on Tuesday and was one of several appearances scheduled to come before Judge Jonathan Minga that afternoon.
Worrell, 22, is facing 12 counts of reckless endangerment after allegedly firing several shots through a closed door of an apartment. Worrell has not been charged in connection to the death of Ja’Shon Yates, 19 of Kingsport, who died as a result of gunshot wounds suffered at the complex.
Worrell’s case went before Judge Minga around 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday and revolved around the testimony of Investigator Brady Higgins, the lead investigator into the incident.
Throughout the investigation, Higgins said witnesses pointed toward Worrell as one of several suspects in the shooting. After speaking to him and executing a search warrant at his home, Higgins said investigators found several crucial details.
Officers allegedly found a firearm under Worrell’s bed that he initially denied owning, then admitted to firing the night of Yates’ death. Worrell reportedly told Higgins that he believed his friend was in danger inside the apartment after he heard gunfire, but the door was blocked. After attempting to get inside, Worrell allegedly told Higgins that he shot into the closed door.
“What I remember is he stated he would kill to get in there,” Higgins told the court.
According to Higgins, 12 bullets were found at the scene of the shooting, including three embedded in the chest of 19-year-old Ja’Shon Yates. Three others were found inside the apartment, and six were found scattered throughout the hallway. An unspent round was also found on the floor in the hallway.
Prosecutors spoke to Higgins at length about the characteristics of the ammunition, and he specified that some of the rounds stood out to investigators. In his testimony, Higgins said investigators found red, ballistic Teflon-coated bullets in several places:
- Inside the apartment.
- Inside the walls outside the apartment.
- Inside the magazine of Worrell’s gun.
- Inside the chest of the deceased, Ja’Shon Yates.
Worrell allegedly told investigators that he had fired his entire magazine at the scene at first, but Higgins said the 22-year-old later added that whatever was found in the magazine was left over from the night of the shooting. Higgins said the gun could have held 13 rounds with one in the firing chamber, but investigators found eight rounds still inside the magazine. Higgins said three spent casings were found inside as well.
According to Higgins on Tuesday, Worrell reportedly told investigators that a white male had entered the apartment just before he allegedly heard shooting and that he believed he may have been involved in the incident. Higgins testified that investigators have already identified and spoken with the person Worrell was speaking of, referencing an “initial” shooting that may have occurred.
All twelve of Worrell’s reckless endangerment charges were bound over to a grand jury after Judge Minga found probable cause to support the accusations. Worrell is set to appear in Washington County Criminal Court on April 3, 2023.