KPD: Suspect playing with gun shot Loudon mother of 4

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Knoxville Police Department and the Knox County District Attorney's Office issued an arrest warrant Thursday for 27-year-old Marques Wheeler, also known as POLO, in connection to the shooting death of Kayla Viars. On Thursday night, KPD said Wheeler was arrested by officers without incident on the north side of the city.

Police said he would be booked into the Knox County Detention Facility Thursday night.

Wheeler has been charged with reckless homicide.

According to Wheeler's arrest warrant, the suspect was the backseat passenger in a 2016 Nissan Altima with witness Dominick Brown and victim 27-year-old Kayla Viars of Loudon. According to Brown, the three were riding around Market Square when Wheeler began playing with a .22 caliber handgun that he accidentally fired, striking Viars, the front seat passenger, in the back.

Police said Viars was pronounced dead from the gunshot wound.

KPD said Wednesday that witness Dominick "True Story" Brown was located after police received numerous tips as to his whereabouts.

The Knoxville Police Department announced the investigation into a homicide of a mother of four on Tuesday.

At 1 a.m. on Jan. 1, KPD officers were called to East Tennessee Children's Hospital on West Clinch Avenue to investigate a shooting scene. Authorities said the shooting did not happen at the hospital.

Viars was dropped off at Children's Hospital with her injuries. Viars died from gunshot injuries shortly after being dropped off at the hospital.

Local 8 News talked to Kayla Viar's best friend, Kayla Allison, who spoke to Viars an hour before the shooting occurred at a New Year's Eve party.

Allison said she could tell that something was wrong with Viars: "She was in a rush and a hurry. She said 'I'll call you back. I love you, don't worry.' Then 20 minutes later I find out."

Viars' brother, Johnathon Viars, asked for help in bringing those involved to justice for Viars and her now motherless children. He said, "It's just a shame, though. She was a beautiful girl that would never hurt anybody. She's got four babies and gone. Now, they won't know their momma no more over nothing. So, anyone out there, please help."

Anyone with information about the incident was urged to call the Knoxville Police Department at 865-215-7000.


Dominic Michael Brown
Kayla Viars and family
Marques Wheeler