The Augusta barber who shot a man Saturday inside the Stars and Strikes Family Entertainment Center said he was simply protecting himself and his family.
Dennis Murray, 35, said nearly a dozen people were stomping on him when he pulled his gun. He said he hadn’t seen the no-weapons sign for the Augusta business.
“At the end of the day, I am licensed,” he told The Jail Report on Wednesday. “I am going to protect my family by any means necessary. I know how these younger, reckless guys think they are so tough and hard. When it comes to my door front, I am going to do what I need to do to protect my children and my family.”
The shooting happened Saturday evening at a crowded bowling alley on Wrightsboro Road, where the wait to get a lane was over an hour, Murray said.
During the fight, Murray shot 30-year-old Jamal Morgan in the upper right arm, authorities say. Morgan, Chaquita Lane, 30, and a 15-year-old juvenile were arrested and charged with battery. Jasmine Morgan, 34, is being sought.
Murray said he took his son to the entertainment center for his 13th birthday. The large group included Murray’s son, his 15-year-old autistic son, and three other children, ages 12, 10 and 4. Plus, he had his mother, mother-in-law, grandmother and great-grandmother.
The kids were running around playing arcade games and they were eating.
At one point, Murray was outside with his mother-in-law to smoke and mentioned to another group that someone had taken his Black & Mild cigar that he left out there. One guy told him that he didn’t take it.
“I said it’s OK. I didn’t argue with him,” Murray said. “I tried to shake his hand, numerous times.”
About twenty minutes later as the Murray group was preparing to leave the center, the same group from outside “ran up” on their table, Murray said.
“Eleven guys was stomping all on me,” Murray said. “And I just happened to come out of it and got one shot off.”
The gunfire rang out loud.
“Everybody ran. EVERYBODY ran,” Murray said. “(Morgan) ended up getting shot in the arm and it shot off his nipple.”
Murray said two women jumped on his mother, Tracey Wood-Quarles, a 59-year-old Augusta woman known to many as “Momma T.”
“One girl grabbed me by my shoulder and swung and missed,” she told The Jail Report. “I grabbed my son out of the way. When I turned around, a female was running up on my son with a fist up in the air, saying, ‘Come on, Come on.’”
She put her arm across her son, and that’s when one of the female suspects hit her in the forehead.
“I didn’t have any choice but to defend myself. We started to fight,” said Wood-Quarles. “When the gun went off, we were still fighting. That’s when everyone ran.”
Luckily, the whole thing was captured on surveillance video and backed up their story. Authorities told them that the shooting was clearly self-defense.
Both Murray and his mother went to the hospital. She suffered a concussion, head injury, lower extremity contusion, and bruises.
Murray had cuts and abrasions all over his head and face. His hair was ripped from both sides of his head.
“I just hate that all of this happened, and it all happened in front of my grandchildren,” Wood-Quarles said. “His 4-year-old daughter thought her father was dead! All the kids have been traumatized!”
As for the gun, she said the concealed weapon may have saved her son’s life.
Murray said he carries his gun everywhere.
“That is why I take these classes and do the training,” he said. “I will put it this way: You stay ready, you ain’t got to get ready.”