A suspected gang member is accused of killing Tara Correa-McMullen

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated March 02, 2006 08:00 AM

A suspected gang member was charged on Wednesday in Los Angeles with fatally shooting 16-year-old actress Tara Correa-McMullen, who portrayed a former gang member on TV’s Judging Amy.

Damien Watts, 20, who already was in custody on a separate shooting case, was charged with one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder, the Associated Press reports. If convicted, he faces life in prison, according to the district attorney’s office.

Prosecutors said Watts fired at a group of people outside an Inglewood apartment complex Oct. 21, killing the teen actress and injuring two men who were with her. Authorities say a second, yet-to-be-identified suspect also opened fire. They believe the shooting was gang-related.

Correa-McMullen, whose real name was Shalvah McMullen, appeared in the Martin Lawrence movie Rebound and had a recurring role on Judging Amy as a former gang member named Graciela.

“She may have just been at the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Sgt. Steve Overly immediately after her shooting.

At Correa-McMullen’s funeral at Forest Lawn Memorial-Park Hollywood Hills, her parents, Devora Correa and Thomas McMullen, remembered their daughter as an energetic and unassuming person who made friends with everyone, “whether they were a grip or a caterer.”

But friends at the funeral said that Correa-McMullen had started hanging out with a “bad crowd.”