Mother says son ‘snapped’ before allegedly shooting uncle at Middletown home

Denzel Fuller, 22, of Middletown, appeared in Middletown Municipal Court Wednesday afternoon for his arraignment. He was charged with murder for allegedly killing his uncle. Bond was set at $1 million. RICK McCRABB/STAFF

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Denzel Fuller, 22, of Middletown, appeared in Middletown Municipal Court Wednesday afternoon for his arraignment. He was charged with murder for allegedly killing his uncle. Bond was set at $1 million. RICK McCRABB/STAFF

Bond for suspect set at $1 million.

The suspect and his family cried Wednesday afternoon in Middletown Municipal Court when Judge James Sherron said the man faced 15 years to life in prison and set his bond at $1 million.

Denzel Fuller, 22, of Middletown, charged with murder in the death of his uncle, Terry Fuller, 42, Monday night, wept as did several family members who attended the arraignment.

As Fuller was led back to Middletown City Jail, someone yelled: “We love you.”

Sherron set Fuller’s preliminary hearing for 9 a.m. Aug. 10.

One of those in court was Denzel Fuller’s mother, who also is Terry Fuller’s sister.

Tina Fuller described the days following the shooting in the 2100 block of Grand Avenue in Middletown “beyond hell.”

She said her son “snapped,” he was scared for his life and he was protecting his family. She said her son was “not in the right state of mind” and the fatal shooting never should have happened.

“I put it all on the devil,” she said after the court appearance.

Other family members said Terry Fuller threated the family in text messages.

Another young lady in court held Deizire Fuller, 8 months old, the daughter she shares with Denzel Fuller.

Middletown police were called at 10:30 p.m. Monday on a report of several shots fired near Grand Avenue and Wilson Street. Middletown Police Chief David Birk said the dispute between the two men started earlier in the night, then “rolled over” until the deadly shooting.

Terry Fuller died at the scene. His body was on the sidewalk curb when officers arrived. While no gun was recovered, police officers found more than 20 casings in the area, Birk said.

Denzel Fuller was tracked down by police and taken into custody in an apartment in the 600 block of Lafayette Avenue.

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Police tape was wrapped around a bus stop sign this morning near Grand Avenue and Wilson Street. RICK McCRABB/STAFF

Police tape was wrapped around a bus stop sign this morning near Grand Avenue and Wilson Street. RICK McCRABB/STAFF

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Police tape was wrapped around a bus stop sign this morning near Grand Avenue and Wilson Street. RICK McCRABB/STAFF

Detective Brook McDonald said Fuller was read his Miranda rights and agreed to talk with police.

“Denzel explained that he shot his uncle,” McDonald wrote in the court documents.

Dispatchers received four 911 calls from residents who reported hearing many rounds of gunfire.

A female caller said: ”I just heard a whole bunch of shooting. It was ‘pow, pow, pow pow,’ that’s how fast it was going.”

Denzel Fuller previously was arrested in September 2017 for the robbery and assault of a pizza delivery driver on Hill Avenue in Middletown, according to court records. He pleaded guilty to robbery, a third-degree felony, in Butler County Common Pleas Court and was sentenced to two years in prison.

Birk credited the work of the police department and neighbors for providing officers leads on Fuller’s whereabouts. He was arrested within three hours of the shooting.

It was the city’s first homicide of the year, Birk said. He said the city averages three to four homicides a year.

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