The murder charge against Markynn West, who was indicted for the fatal road rage shooting of Dallas community leader Jin Shin, has been dropped, the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office announced last month.
West, 29, acted in self-defense when he fatally shot Shin, 43, in August 2022, his attorney Lesa Pamplin said four days after the charge against West was dismissed by prosecutors.
Pamplin has released surveillance footage, which was shared to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, showing the moments leading up to the death of Shin. Pamplin claimed that Shin was intoxicated and was the first to shoot at the accident scene.
In the video, Shin can be seen pointing his gun at the people surrounding him while West approaches with his own gun. However, it is unclear from the video who fired first.
The lawyer believes that the murder charge against West was “the result of an overzealous district attorney’s office eager to file charges,” blaming the pressure from the Asian American community in Dallas, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
It was a pressure campaign put on to smear my client. That community wanted a hate crime and so they tried to give them a hate crime. He’s been portrayed as a villain. He’s been portrayed as a bad guy. When in actuality he saved some women’s life that night. You don’t want to take anybody’s life, but he had to act. He’s not going around saying anything about the guy (Shin). We have kept quiet until now. He just wants people to know that he’s vindicated.
The altercation started after Shin’s Jeep hit the rear of a sedan, resulting in a minor collision on South University Drive on Aug. 15, 2022. Later, several vehicles pulled up to the scene, including a Chrysler that had West as a passenger.
During Shin’s interaction with the group of eight people, two men punched Shin in the back of his head, causing him to walk away from the group. Another member of the group went inside Shin’s car to grab his keys.
According to the affidavit, Shin was prevented from accessing his vehicle multiple times. However, he later managed to retrieve a handgun through the passenger’s side door. The affidavit noted that Shin kept his gun pointed down and that he never fired his weapon during the incident.
West, who took out his own gun from the trunk of the Chrysler, opened fire when Shin walked back to his car, according to the affidavit. West then raised his gun again and fired multiple shots at Shin, causing him to run east away from the group.
Shin was later found dead by the police at a median away from the scene and out of the surveillance camera’s view.
Shin, who was born in South Korea, was an Asian American business owner and community leader in Dallas.
He immigrated to the United States in 1983 and grew up in various parts of Louisiana and North Carolina before settling in Texas. After graduating from Berkner High School in Richardson, he served in the Marine Corps and obtained his business degree from Western Governors University.
Shin, who was described by friends as a “pillar” of Dallas’ Asian community, owned the Encore Family Karaoke at Goodnight Lane in Dallas and co-owned the Dallas branch of Korean restaurant DanSungSa. He is survived by his 14-year-old daughter Ella.
“I am broken that he was robbed of his life like this and Ella and I are robbed,” May Naing Joe, Shin’s former partner, previously told The Dallas Morning News. “Ella is robbed of a father and all that she could have with him. I lost mine at age 12 to an accident. For Ella to have to repeat the curse is killing me.”
Following his death, Shin’s friends organized a GoFundMe page to help with his funeral and legal fees, while amounts in excess will be given to his daughter.
In a statement released on March 29, Shin’s family wrote that they do not agree with the decision to drop the murder charges.
It is with immense grief to let all of you know that the Tarrant County DA’s office will let the shooter claim self defense and dismiss the case, if it’s not already done. Additionally, the ADA presented the three others charged with murder on 3/22 to the grand jury and were no billed, meaning they are dismissed of their charges. The ones that punched Jin will get misdemeanors for assault. We do not agree with this as they led us to believe for all these months they were working hard on this case.
West’s family have also set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for his legal expenses and lost wages.
“Kynn has been a pillar of our family, supporting his mother and brother financially even during this case,” his cousin Kendra Richardson wrote. “He has spent thousands of dollars on lawyer fees, court fees, and has had to sell his car to continue to support himself and his family.”
Following the District Attorney’s decision, West is reportedly trying to resume a life of normalcy.
“I’m sorry that these things had to transpire that way,” West told WFAA. “But I definitely pray for them. I hope everyone can move on.”