As Tampa Police intensified their search Thursday for a man accused of murdering a Family Dollar store clerk during a robbery, many wondered why the suspect was even out on the streets.
Demetrius Parks, 23, picture is now plastered on billboards throughout Hillsborough County and there is a $16,000 reward offered for information leading to his arrest.
"It's going to be very difficult for Demetrius Parks to hide. His picture is anywhere and everywhere," said police spokesperson Laura McElroy, who added detectives believe Parks is still in the area.
Parks has a lengthy criminal record and has faced more than 60 charges over the years, more than half of them felonies. He was released from prison in 2012 following a three-year sentence on weapons charges.
Investigators believe Parks shot and killed Horsley Shorter Jr. Sunday during a robbery at the Family Dollar on North 40th Street.
McElroy said the majority of the suspect's previous crimes are property-related, included burglaries and car thefts. She said although Parks has had a weapon on him in the past, this is the first time he's used it.
Shorter's family said they, like many others, want to know why Parks wasn't still behind bars.
"The convictions were not enough to put this guy in prison for the rest of his life," said Anthony Rickman, a former prosecutor who is now a defense attorney.
Rickman took at look at Parks' arrest record and said, despite the long list of charges, he only has a handful of convictions; Rickman said the state likely dropped many of the charges due to a lack of evidence or various other reasons.
"Nobody knows what a person is going to do after they're released from prison. No one knows what a person is going to do after a prior conviction," Rickman said. "It's unfair to tell a state attorney's office, tell a prosecutor, hey, you should have known that this guy was going to commit this crime based on his prior record."
Parks also has at least two pending burglary charges for crimes that happened before the incident at Family Dollar, but posted bond following those arrests.
named in Family Dollar shooting
held for Family Dollar murder victim; no arrest yet
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
Didn't find what you were looking for?