Tunica man charged with murder, two others in custody, in Corner Store homicide

Published 10:53 am Friday, December 8, 2023

Batesville Police have three people in custody in connection with the shooting death of a man at the Corner Store on Van Voris Street Thursday morning.  


Two Batesville residents have been charged with accessory after the fact, and a third person surrendered to authorities at the Tunica County Sheriff’s Office Thursday evening. He was transported to the Panola County jail Friday.

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Jamari Tyrice Barnes, 19, has been charged with murder in the slaying of Keenan Draper, 31. 


Charged with accessory crimes are Jaylon Davion Ausborn, 20, and Jamaras Marshawn Jefferson, 19, both of Batesville. Barnes has a Tunica address.


Chief of Police Kerry Pittman said investigators charged the Batesville pair because they were in the vehicle with Barnes and left the scene of the crime together.


The homicide happened mid-morning and was a targeted shooting. The deceased parked near the door of the Corner Store and left his car running, apparently with intentions to quickly make a purchase and leave.


Shortly after he entered the convenience store his attacker followed him inside and opened fire, hitting Draper multiple times. He died at the scene.


As word of the shooting spread, friends and relatives of the slain man gathered outside the store, some crying and others asking investigators for information.


Keenan Draper’s brother, Calvin White, 21, was killed in a similar shooting Nov. 11 on Vance Street. The suspect in that case, Barry Louis Flowers, was arrested that same day and is charged with murder. He is currently free on bond.


The Corner Store area has been a focus of city officials this year, as they attempt to reduce crime on Van Voris and Pearson Streets. Another convenience store, T.K.’s Supermarket, one block from the Corner Store, was closed by order of the Fire Dept. two months ago following a building inspection.

Until it was closed, police and firefighters were dispatched there routinely to deal with assaults, fights, and fires in the trash dumpster.


The Corner Store was also the site of another murder last month when an Oxford woman was killed by bullets meant for the person she was with. Much like Thursday’s attack, the woman and a companion were targeted with a hail of bullets as they exited the store. She also died on the scene.


Ironically, as police were working the crime scene at the Corner Store Thursday, most of the other city employees were gathering one block east at the new Fire Station and Municipal Building for a Christmas meal. 


The store’s proximity to the Downtown Square (about 1,000 feet) has been a concern for business owners and city officials for several months with aldermen vowing to have the store shuttered permanently if the crime rate does not decrease in the area.


Neighborhood residents have pushed back at the idea of forcing the store to close because it is the only store in walking distance for hundreds of households. In the area.