The man charged in the fatal shooting of another man at a North Austin complex Wednesday said the shooting was “the biggest mistake of his life,” according to his arrest affidavit.
Police have charged Melvin Stephens, 47, with the murder of Dedrick Earl, 22, at an apartment complex at 8800 North Interstate 35. Officers were called to the complex around 2:40 p.m. Wednesday for the shooting. Earl was taken to University Medical Center-Brackenridge where he died.
One witness identified Stephens as the shooter, and told police that he and Earl were on his balcony around 1 p.m. Wednesday and burned a magazine. The witness said he extinguished the magazine and threw the ashes on Stephens’ vehicle. The affidavit states Stephens confronted the witness and Earl and asked them to clean his vehicle. After initially denying involvement, the witness said he decided to clean Stephens’ car. While cleaning the car, the witness said he saw Stephens come downstairs holding a revolver and threatened to shoot him.
Stephens allegedly told Earl to clean the car as well, to which he replied “No, you can’t tell me nothing, I didn’t do that.” The witness told police Earl went back into his apartment and retrieved a small piece of plastic. After Earl returned, both he and Stephens began walking upstairs to the suspect’s apartment. The witness heard two gunshots after both were out of his sight, and he saw Earl come down the stairs holding his neck. The witness said he fled toward the apartment’s leasing office and found someone who would let him borrow their phone to call 911.
Stephens also called police to report the shooting, and the affidavit stated he told officers he had a gun and would wait for officers at his apartment. He told police that after he confronted the witness and Earl, he saw them pouring a “clear liquid” on his car and proceeded to confront them again with his revolver. According to the affidavit, Stephens told police Earl threw something at his head and followed him up the stairs right before the shooting. Stephens told officers he fired two shots at Earl on the stairs of their apartment building.
The affidavit states Stephens told police he had been trained on the use of deadly force and less lethal options. Stephens admitted to police he could have pushed the victim as he was coming up the stairs instead of shooting him.
Stephens was booked into the Travis County Jail Thursday night. Online records state he is being held on $125,000 bond.