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2nd local man arrested in Jan. slaying on MLK


News Staff Writer

Atmore police officers and agents of the U.S. Marshals Service took 30-year-old Cleo Frye III of Atmore into custody around 4 p.m. last Thursday, February 15, making him the second person charged in the January 13 shooting death of Atmore resident Okeema McCants.
Based on the number of shell casings found at the scene, the 39-year-old Atmore man was shot more than a dozen times when he stopped his car near the junction of Martin Luther King Drive and Bragg Street, where four individuals were involved in a fracas.
Police found shell casings from weapons of two different calibers, and later determined from witnesses that Frye and Charles Dewayne Walker, 25, also of Atmore, each fired several times when McCants tried to break up the fight.
The wounded man was taken by ambulance to Atmore Community Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
Walker was arrested shortly after the shooting. He remained in the Escambia County Detention Center this week, charged with murder.
Investigators were later able to identify Frye as both a participant in the physical altercation, and a shooter.
Investigators thought Frye might have left the Atmore area and requested the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Service. Officers and agents took Frye into custody at approximately 4 p.m. after he was spotted riding in a car along Alabama 21, near its junction with Woods Road.
The car was pulled over, and the murder suspect was taken into custody. He did not offer any resistance, McMann said.
Frye also remained in the Escambia County Detention Center this week, also charged with murder.
Police were told McCants was a distant relative of one of the shooters. That might possibly have led to the fatal decision by McCants to stop his car and get out, but authorities aren’t speculating.
“I was told McCants and Walker were distant cousins,” APD Sgt. Darrell McMann said. “I’m not sure how accurate that is.”
The city detective added that APD’s investigation into the McCants shooting is ongoing, that a possibility exists that others could eventually be charged.
“There were two other people involved in the fistfight before Frye and Walker began shooting,” McMann said. “We are waiting on the results of the ballistics post-autopsy [results] to determine the caliber and number of times he was shot.”