DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - The deadly shooting of a teenager at a MARTA bus stop has led to a suspect who's also believed to be responsible for a string of sexual assaults and armed robberies, authorities said.
Marcaysia Dawkins was shot while waiting for a MARTA bus in the 5900 block of Fairington Road in Lithonia. The Nov. 23 shooting was captured on a gas station's surveillance video. Channel 2’s Kerry Kavanaugh spoke with the mother of the 18-year-old suspect Christopher Merritt.
He is facing several charges, including murder, armed robbery, rape and false imprisonment. Shakinah Merritt says her son's personality had changed over the last few years, and police say he is charged with three counts of rape and three counts of armed robbery in addition to murder.
Shakinah Merritt said she does not believe he is responsible for all of the crimes police say he committed. She called Channel 2 Action News after seeing the previous report on the murder. She says that is when she learned about the long list of crimes police say they have connected to her son.
“I don't know who that person is. That’s not the child I had and it's certainly not the child that I raised," said Shakinah Merritt.
"Everything that Christopher touched turned golden. If he played basketball, he was the best on the team," she told Kavanaugh.
She said her son was once an "A" student, but she noticed a change around the age of 16.
“He was acting different. He was talking different. Some of the stuff he used to say he was real over the hill. Like something in his head wasn't right," Shakinah Merritt.
“It’s not just the incident at the bus stop. Police are saying multiple sexual assaults,” Kavanaugh said.
“I don’t believe that,” Shakinah Merritt said.
“Do you believe he could have done what happened at the bus stop,” asked Kavanaugh.
“Yeah, I do," she said.
"It's not (who) I raised at all,” she said.
She says she tried to get help for her son. She says her son expressed thoughts of suicide to a family member within the last year. The family of Marcaysia Dawkins, laid her to rest in Pennsylvania on Monday. Her family said she was preparing to enter the Navy next year. Loved ones say she’ll be remembered as a bright and ambitious girl.