Popular street vendor ‘Red the Watermelon Man’ murdered, teen suspect arrested after skipping out on court hearing: Cops

Red the Watermelon man

Demarion Tackett, 16, right via United States Marshals Service, is accused of killing John Materna, left via Facebook, who was known as “Red the Watermelon Man” for selling watermelons out of the bed of his pickup truck in May 2023 in Memphis.

The United States Marshals Service on Monday arrested the 16-year-old boy accused of murdering a well-known Memphis street vendor known as “Red the Watermelon Man” after the suspect went on the lam when he failed to show up for a court hearing.

Demarion Tackett was arrested around noon at a house in Memphis. The boy tried to run out of the backdoor but “gave up when he saw there was no escape,” a press release said. Tackett is charged with first-degree murder and armed robbery in the death of 76-year-old John Materna. Cops say Tackett shot and robbed Materna, who was selling watermelons out of the bed of his pickup truck on May 15, 2023. Materna died from his injuries about two weeks later, and detectives arrested Tackett the next day.

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