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ETX mall shooting suspect's arrest affidavit released

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TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

KLTV has obtained the arrest affidavit for 25-year-old Ricky Neal Jr., the Henderson man arrested after the fatal shooting at the Tyler mall.

Neal is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 23-year-old Christopher Mass. On Monday, authorities added another charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, after police said Neal tried to shoot another man, Jonathon Lamone Dews, 29, of Tyler. 

Mass' funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, at Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler. A fund has also been set up in his name. Those interested can donate to the Chris Mass Tragedy Fund at the Cooperative Teachers Credit Union in Tyler.

The shooting happened near the JC Penney parking lot around 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. 

Neal told police in the arrest affidavit that he came to the mall on Saturday because it was the release date of the new Air Jordan shoe. 

Neal said he walked over to Chic-Fil-A in the mall where he ran into Dews. He said the two began to argue over messages exchanged on Twitter. 

Neal said Dews asked him to fight, but Neal said he declined and walked out to the parking lot to have his girlfriend, who was waiting in the car, get the shoes for him. 

That's when, according to the arrest affidavit, Neal saw Mass standing by his vehicle, which was parked right next to him.

That's when he said he pulled out a .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun because he saw Mass open the door to his vehicle and put his sweatshirt inside. Neal told police he suspected Mass had retrieved a weapon from the car, despite the fact that he never saw a weapon in either Mass or Dews' hands. 

Neal said he never heard either of the men say that they wanted to kill or threaten him with any weapon. Neal said Dews and Mass were together at this point and since Dews did not have a weapon, he did not consider him an immediate threat.  Neal told police he shot Mass twice and then shot at Dews as he ran, missing him. 

Dews, however, has a different story.

Dews said Neal agreed to fight it out, just the two of them in the parking lot. He said Neal was mad because Mass had followed them outside. That's when Dews said Neal pulled out the gun. 

Dews said another man, Jimmy Whitt, who had been talking to Neal in the mall earlier, ran up to Neal, telling him not to shoot. 

Whitt said when Dews and Mass were outside, Neal said, "Oh, y'all trying to jump me?" In the affidavit, Whitt said he told Neal the men were not trying to jump him. Whitt said he tried to get Neal to stop, but Neal started shooting. 

Police also interviewed Neal's girlfriend who said she saw the men arguing in the parking lot before she went inside the mall to buy Neal's shoes. 

She told police she knew Neal had been carrying a gun around lately.

Neal appeared in court on Monday afternoon to determine who will represent him in the case. O.W. "Buddy" Loyd has been appointed to represent Neal.

Neal's bonds have been set at $750,000 for first degree murder and $500,000 for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

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