Details about shooting revealed at hearing

By Bethany Knipp

Details about a Manhattan shooting were revealed at a man’s preliminary hearing on Tuesday in a case that has caused a rift between a victim’s family and the local police department.

Witnesses were brought in for a hearing for Daeshawn Bryant, 18, whom attorneys allege shot Dareen Starks, 23, just after 1 p.m. on May 7 at the Hop-N-Skip convenience store, 2233 Tuttle Creek Blvd.

Starks’ mother, Sophia Starks, had attended the past two Riley County law board meetings and confronted police administrators about her son, whom she said was harassed by police following the incident in which he was the victim.

Bryant reportedly shot Starks after Starks approached him while Bryant was working on his car near the vacuuming area at the convenience store’s car wash. 

Starks was shot in the abdomen and was flown to Wichita’s Via Christi Hospital St. Francis because of his critical injuries. He told the judge that he had four surgeries and that he “literally died” before being revived. Starks and Bryant gave different reasons for the shooting.

Bryant’s defense attorney Lora Ingels said that Bryant shot Starks in self-defense after Starks “angrily” walked up to Bryant’s car to confront him about marijuana Starks thought Bryant stole from him.

“I believe there’s a clear self-defense issue in this case,” Ingels said.

Bryant reported to witnesses and Riley County Police Department Sgt. Dustin Weiszbrod that he saw Starks had a gun at his waist and before Starks could shoot him, Bryant reached for his firearm and shot Starks first.

Ingels said Bryant received a threatening visit at his family’s house from Starks and threatening text messages from a phone under the name “Pucci,” which Starks admitted under cross-examination to be his street name.

Starks, on the witness stand, denied a relationship between himself and Bryant, saying that the two had only played basketball in the past.

Weiszbroad said Bryant told him during a police interview after Bryant’s arrest that the two had dealt high-grade marijuana together.

Under direct examination from prosecuting attorney Barry Disney, Starks said he “knew” it was Bryant who had stolen money and electronics from him, not drugs as Weiszbrod’s testimony of Bryant’s account said.

Starks also said he did not own a firearm and did not have one at the car wash.

Starks pleaded the Fifth Amendment for some of the questions asked under direct and cross examination because he is facing other criminal cases.

Bryant faces three charges: conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, aggravated battery for the shooting and criminal possession of a firearm (because of a prior conviction).

Judge William Malcolm ordered Bryant bound over for trial on the charges.

Bryant’s next appearance will be at 2 p.m. on Sept. 2 with Judge David Stutzman presiding.

Among attendees in the courtroom were Starks’ mother and Riley County Police Department Director Brad Schoen.

Schoen had been confronted by Sophia Starks during a Monday Riley County Law Board meeting about her son’s case. She said police were not telling her anything about it and had not allowed her to talk with Internal Affairs with her attorney present. Schoen said she and her attorney could talk to them if RCPD could bring its attorney.

Schoen said attorney presence often indicates a coming lawsuit, but Sophia Starks said she was not bringing one against RCPD.

At the start of the preliminary hearing, Sophia Starks and others associated with the victim were heard laughing and talking about other aspects of the case.

Malcolm reminded those in the room that the hearing was being recorded and that the courtroom had to be quiet for the sake of the record.

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