$250K bond set for man charged in shooting outside local Red Lobster

Kenneth James Smith. (Jail photo)
Kenneth James Smith. (Jail photo)(KWTX)
Published: May. 8, 2018 at 12:24 PM CDT
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Bond was set at $250,000 Wednesday for Kenneth James Smith, 25, who was arrested Tuesday and charged with murder in connection with a deadly shooting outside of the Red Lobster restaurant in Waco.

Waco police and members of the U.S. Marshal’s Task Force arrested Smith early Tuesday morning at a trailer in which he had been staying in at a property on Rock Creek Road, police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said.

Justin Wayne Bibles, 32, of Waco, was shot in the head as he sat in a car late in the morning on May 1 outside of the Red Lobster restaurant adjacent to Waco’s Richland Mall.

He died just after 5:30 p.m. May 1 at a local hospital.

Officers and paramedics who responded to what initially was reported as an accident at the restaurant at 5925 West Waco Drive found Bibles sitting in his car, which lurched forward after the shooting and collided with another vehicle in the parking lot.

Swanton said it appears a man got out of a white pickup truck with large wheels, shot the victim, and then got back into the truck where another man was waiting.

The two fled the scene, he said.

Smith was identified as the man who was seen leaving the driver’s side of Bibles’ vehicle and getting into the pickup, an arrest warrant affidavit says.

In March 2016 a shooting in the parking lot outside of BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse next door to Red Lobster, left a former high school football player injured.

Deondrae Jashawn Degrate was shot twice in the lower back at around 9:45 p.m. on March 9, 2016, after walking out of the restaurant to meet someone in the parking lot.

After he was shot, Degrate went back inside the restaurant to get help.

He was taken to Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center.

The shooting stemmed from what police said at the time was an illegal marijuana sale that was originally supposed to have taken place at a West Waco apartment.

The two suspects who intended to buy the marijuana displayed handguns and one of them shot Degrate, who "became the victim of an attempt to steal the drugs," Swanton said.

Eric Brooks, who was arrested the day after the shooting for an unrelated offense, was charged with the shooting.

Brooks was indicted in May 2016 for aggravated robbery and aggravated assault and on March 1 was sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to the charges.

(Editor's note: Waco police say the victim is listed in their system as both Justin Wayne Bible and Justin Wayne Bibles)