Two people were arrested in connection to a shooting that killed one person and injured 16 others at a southeast Oak Cliff outdoor concert last month, Dallas police said.
The arrests of Astonial Calhoun, 25, and Devojiea Givens, 26, come more than a month after the April 2 shooting. Calhoun and Givens were booked Thursday morning into the Dallas County jail. Calhoun faces a charge of deadly conduct; Givens faces a charge of deadly conduct by discharging a firearm.
At a news conference Thursday afternoon, Dallas Police Chief Eddie García would not elaborate on why neither man faced a murder charge but said the charges could change in the future.
Police have also not said what evidence led to the arrests.
Gunfire broke out about 11:30 pm in the 5000 block of Cleveland Road. Police allege in a news release Thursday that Calhoun and Givens fired handguns into the crowd after a fight broke out. García previously said one person shot into the air, leading to an argument, and then another person fired into the crowd.
Kealon Dejuane Gilmore, 26, was killed in the shooting. The 16 people injured ranged in age from 13 to 29, police said. One person was injured but wasn’t shot. It is unclear how that person was injured.
“It took a bit of the burden off me,” Shalonda Gilmore, Kealon’s mother, said Thursday at a news conference alongside her attorney, Daryl Washington. “I still don’t have my son at the end of the day. It’s just the beginning. It’s going to be a long process.”
Organizers did not have a permit from the city to host a concert. The shooting raised questions about how the event was possible without a permit, why off-duty Dallas police officers were working security at the event and if violence could’ve been prevented.
García asked anyone with information, including photos and videos from the shooting, to contact Dallas police. He said the department will work with the city to see what can be done from a legal standpoint, including changing existing city ordinances around large events.
“Our men and women care about our victims in this case and their families, and most of all, they care about our city,” García said. “As I’ve said before, we have zero tolerance for this violence in Dallas.”
Police said Givens was taken into custody in Hutchins where, at the time of the shooting, he was out on bond stemming from a deadly conduct charge in late January. In that case, an arrest-warrant affidavit alleges Givens pointed a gun at a man who was in his apartment complex’s parking lot picking up a car.
Calhoun was taken into custody in Cedar Hill.
Calhoun’s bail was set at $1,500, and Givens’ at $15,000. It is unclear if either have attorneys.
‘Not permitted, promoted’ event
A VIP badge found outside of the venue promoted the second annual Epic Easter Bike Out and Field Party. The event included live performances, an Easter egg hunt, a trail ride, welcomed patrons to bring ATVs or horses and advertised that Dallas police would be onsite. The venue was at an open field near Bonnie View Road and Interstate 20.
“This crime is a prime example that not permitted, promoted events can lead to violence,” García said last month. “This, of course, can happen at any event. But with a permit and proper promoter oversight, we can better be prepared for events and crowds.”
St. John Missionary Baptist Church — a church on Marsalis Avenue in east Oak Cliff that owns the property where the venue sits — has not responded to requests for comment.
Seven off-duty Dallas police officers were working as hired security at the event, the city’s top cop has said. Those officers had been approved by their supervisors to work the concert, and left about 30 minutes before the shooting, García said. Police said they left because their shifts ended.
García said the officers shouldn’t have been approval to work the event since it didn’t have a permit. Measures have since been put in place to prohibit off-duty officers from working such events, according to a memo sent out to the department shortly after the shooting.
The internal affairs investigation into the officers working security at the event is ongoing, García said.
New city ordinances intended to boost safety and hold promoters and venue operators accountable — including a fee and registration for “commercial promoters” who host such events — were proposed at a public safety meeting Monday.
Two weeks before the concert shooting, another event without a permit — a party at the Space Dallas venue in South Dallas — ended in gunfire, killing one person and wounding nine others. No arrests have been made, but police believe at least two gunmen shot at each other and the victims were “caught in the crossfire.”
García previously told The Dallas Morning News the department invested resources in the southern part of the city before the shootings and their heightened presence led to a drop in violent crime.
Department statistics updated Wednesday show violent crime is down in the region’s three police divisions. Across the city’s southeast, south central and southwest divisions, there have been 2,169 violent crimes this year — 153 fewer than this point in 2021. Neighborhoods in those divisions include north, west, east and southeast Oak Cliff, Red Bird, Mountain Creek, South Dallas, southeast Dallas, Pleasant Grove and Rylie.
The murder count across southern Dallas is about the same as last year, according to the department’s official tally. There have been 54 murders in southern Dallas this year, four fewer than during the same period in 2021. Across the city, murders have increased to 86 from 75 this time last year.
The city of Dallas a lawsuit filed last month against the church and event promoter involved in the concert, and the parents of a 14-year-old girl who was wounded sued the property owners, record label and artists associated with the event.
The 14-year-old was shot in the thigh and may not be able to walk again, a lawyer representing the family said. Another victim, who was shot in the head, also joined the family’s suit, which seeks more than $1 million in damages.
Both suits name St. John Missionary Baptist Church, and Germaud L. Lyons, or “Bossman Bubba,” who has been described as the event’s promoter. The parents’ lawsuit also names adult entertainment club V Live Dallas, which hosted an after-party; record label Collective Music Group; and artists Big Boogie, Big Fella Zil, Hit Dat, DJ Hollywood, DJ Lil Bill and DJ T-Real.
The suits allege none of the advertised security measures were in place at the time of the shooting.
City attorney, Chris Caso, previously told City Council members the city was exploring whether anyone other than the shooter could face criminal charges. He could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Staff writer Catherine Marfin contributed to this report.