2nd man charged in North County delivery driver’s shooting death

Published: Dec. 16, 2022 at 6:36 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 7, 2023 at 5:16 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - A second suspect has been charged in the shooting death of a delivery driver in North County.

Hershell Perkins, 60, was killed while delivering a pizza to an apartment complex on Whisper Lake Drive in Black Jack around 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 13. That same week, police arrested Wayea Hallowanger, 20, charging him with first-degree murder and armed criminal action. On Feb. 7, the same charges were announced against a second suspect, Marcus Thomas, 23.

Investigators said Hallowanger admitted to ordering a pizza to a vacant apartment and waiting for the driver to arrive. He also admitted to changing the number for the phone from which the order was placed.

“He was a loving person, very caring, not a bad bone in his body,” said Rashonda Johnson, Perkins’ daughter-in-law and former co-worker. “He looked out for everyone even if you didn’t have it. If you didn’t, like a job, he’d make sure you’d get it.”

Johnson said Perkins hired her at Papa John’s several years ago, eventually introducing her to her husband, Cortez Farmer. Farmer said Perkins was his step-father and heavily involved in his life for years.

Perkins started as a delivery driver for the company years ago, Farmer said, and eventually became the general manager of the Papa John’s on New Halls Ferry in Florissant.

“He does play every role in the store,” Farmer said. “He’ll make pizzas, take orders, he’ll deliver pizzas,” he said. “He’ll do whatever he needs to do to help his employees and make it easier on them.”

That’s exactly what Farmer said his step-father was doing that night of the fatal delivery after one of Perkins’ drivers called off of work.

“He enjoyed delivering pizzas more than anything,” Farmer said. “So I know he covered that shift because he wanted to help out the other drivers and not cause anyone to have their orders late or canceled.”

Farmer said the delivery to Whisper Lake Drive was for a cash order, something Perkins always talked to his employees about.

“We always talked about cash orders and what the proper protocol was,” he said. “When we take cash orders, we call the person. We try to meet the person in the driveway or outside the door or something. We never try to get out of our cars for cash orders because it could be a set up.”

While he doesn’t know the specifics of what occurred during the delivery, Farmer said he knows Perkins followed his own rules.

“We don’t walk around apartment complexes looking for a unit number,” he said. “I just know he called the customer. But I still don’t believe he wanted the pizza, I believe it was personal or I feel like he was trying to rob my dad.”

According to police, Perkins was able to call 911 after being shot multiple times to report the incident and indicated he did not believe he would survive. Police tell News 4 at this point in the investigation, there is no known connection between Perkins and the suspects.

“He was a great dad, the best,” said Farmer. “He loved his kids, grandkids and family of employees.”