The Girl Who Played Dead

The untold story of the 1990 bathtub shooting

"Kenneth, you remember that name you used?" the gunman shot back in a West Indian accent. "Don't ever use it again."

He fired a single shot. It blew out Covington's eye. LaTonya glanced over and saw an eyeball in his mouth.

Lizzie reacted instantly. She ducked on her knees, head to the floor, pretending she'd gone down with the first shot.

LaTonya Williams testified that she was shot 11 times--just about everywhere but her head and heart. Now 29 and in prison for felony cocaine possession, Williams pointed out some of her many scars from bullet wounds.
Mark Graham
LaTonya Williams testified that she was shot 11 times--just about everywhere but her head and heart. Now 29 and in prison for felony cocaine possession, Williams pointed out some of her many scars from bullet wounds.
Lizzie Williams after a 1996 shoplifting arrest
Lizzie Williams after a 1996 shoplifting arrest

Just then, LaTonya says, Money Mike shot her. Her arm jerked up and back, she says, like it had been blown from her body. She yanked it back and was holding it with her teeth when the room blew up in light and sound. Someone sprayed the tub with semiautomatic gunfire. LaTonya passed out.

The kids' recollections are fragmented after that. One remembers hearing the gunmen talk about leaving by the back stairs; moments afterward, Oudems, shot four times in his leg, arm and side, pulled himself out of the tub and staggered down the apartment hallway, leaving streaks of blood. He stumbled down the outside stairs and sprawled on his face on the sidewalk. Youngster lay there, bleeding profusely, when he saw a man's feet beside him. "Oh, man, no," he heard the man say, and he recognized the voice. It was Junior, his Jamaican boss.

"Help me, help me," Youngster groaned.

Junior rushed up the stairs to the apartment, gun in hand, looked inside and ran back down. When he heard sirens in the distance, he tore out of there and left the boy, who nearly bled to death.

The cops who arrived at Cleveland Street just minutes later would call it one of the bloodiest crime scenes they'd ever seen, like an "assassination." One officer would testify that paramedics were pulling out the naked body of a girl covered in blood. He figured that was it; then someone shouted, "There's more!"

By then, the water had overflowed and left a bloody residue on the tile floor. The drain was clogged with bullets and bits of flesh. Covington was still in the tub, critically wounded in the head.

And Juniores Ray Mahan was dead.

Fear

Word filtered out on the street, passing from dope fiend to drifter until it reached clear across South Dallas to Elihu Street, where Daryl Oudems' father, a user himself, was hanging outside with some buddies. Out of the darkness came some crackheads with horror in their eyes. "You hear what happened on Cleveland? Man, they did a bloodbath. They put these young kids in a bathtub and shot 'em."

Jimmy Oudems instinctively thought about his son. He'd arrived at home in a cab earlier that evening, ran inside and took a shower, then handed his father a $10 bill: "Here, Daddy." Then he jumped in the cab and was gone again.

His mother found out first: That's my Daryl. "She was so tore up," Jimmy Oudems says. "She fell on her knees, went to praying. We both went to praying and crying."

Meanwhile, at Dallas' biggest trauma center, three teen-agers were fighting for their lives. Daryl Oudems was at Parkland Memorial Hospital, with doctors trying to stanch the blood flowing from an artery in his thigh.

Covington was also there; a bullet had plowed through his brain. LaTonya Williams was immediately ushered into surgery. She'd been literally shot full of holes, suffering 10 or 11 bullet wounds, just about everywhere but her head and heart. For a while, the police didn't know if the kids would pull through.

A few days later, they were still hanging on. Sergeant Hudson remembers his first words to LaTonya: "I can't believe you're still alive." He came to the hospital on June 5 to show her lineups of suspects in the shooting. Williams had another surprise: Even though she was groggy and in pain, she was able to pick out four men from some 30 photos Hudson showed her. Since her arm was in a cast, Williams signed "Tonya" in chicken scrawl on the back of each photo she recognized. In another room, Covington picked out three men.

Daryl Oudems, however, wouldn't even look at the photos. He knew the rules of the street, and he was appropriately terrified. He'd later explain in court why he didn't cooperate: "Because I didn't want to get shot no more."

Lizzie Williams, though unhurt, didn't recognize any of the gunmen's faces except Money Mike.

Still, Hudson had solid IDs on five suspects, all of whom had been in trouble with the law before. After the shooting, in fact, Dallas police had been flooded with information. People in South Dallas were sick of the violence and, in a trend that cut squarely against the stereotype, phoned in numerous bits of information, Hudson says. On June 7, he released the names and photos of five suspects: Mark Anthony Larmond, 19, known by the street name "Uzi"; Randy Shawn Brown, 19, who used his dancehall DJ stage name, "Trouble" (short for "Trouble Ranking"); Michael Charles Edwards, 19, better known as Money Mike; Christopher Barronette, 20, who had several aliases; and a man with a distinctive burn scar on his throat, Phillip King, 21. All except Money Mike were natives of Jamaica. Each was indicted for Mahan's murder.

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1 comments
shu.shu2008
shu.shu2008

 OMG I remember this happening! I was 15 at the time and I actually  knew Money Mike and Ken  (RIP Kennth  ) Now Trouble I mostly heard  about and seen one time from a distance. It was so fuck up back then every time I turned around someone I knew was getting killed. I even had a gun pull on me by one of those Jamaicans.   (In Da Trap!)  I had to use the restroom when Bazar came in behind me and pull out his gun and ask did I have any  diseases I said no and he told me to take off my pants or he was going to shoot me. God was definitely looking out for me because my friend  burst through door at that very moment since he was her boyfriend. I ran my ass out of there and never went back.

 
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