A man suspected of gunning down a Riverside resident at a park is also suspected of conspiring with a gang member in the shooting death of a Moreno Valley man, authorities said Monday.

Arthur Lawrence Akins, 50, of Riverside, was arrested Saturday and booked into the Robert Presley Jail on suspicion of murder for the 2020 death of 32-year-old Cedric Omar Dempsey.

Riverside County sheriff’s Sgt. Richard Carroll said detectives also believe Akins was a co-conspirator in the slaying of 43-year-old Kevin Henderson of Moreno Valley earlier that same year.

On May 8, after a nearly 17-month investigation, 32-year-old Darnell Frederick Tate of Moreno Valley was charged with first-degree murder, a special circumstance allegation of killing for the benefit of a criminal street gang and sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations for Henderson’s death.

On the night of June 7, 2020, the victim was at a residence in the 24000 block of Myers Avenue, near Fir Street, when he was fatally shot, according to Carroll.

Detectives were unable to develop leads until recently, culminating in charges against Tate.

Carroll said Akins was implicated in the shooting about the same time Riverside Police Department Robbery-Homicide investigators obtained a warrant for his arrest in connection with the Dempsey killing.

According to Riverside police spokesman Ryan Railsback, in that case, the victim was hanging out in Bordwell Park, near the intersection of MLK Boulevard and Ottawa Avenue, in the early morning hours of Dec. 22, 2020, when he was shot once in the head.

He died at the scene, and detectives spent the ensuing 23 months collecting evidence that ultimately pointed to Akins as the alleged assailant, Railsback said, without specifying a possible motive.

The District Attorney’s Office is reviewing both the sheriff and RPD cases seeking charges against Akins for the two killings.

He’s being held in lieu of $1 million bail.

Tate, who is being held without bail at the downtown Riverside jail, is slated to be arraigned Tuesday at the Riverside Hall of Justice in the Henderson case.

Court records show that Tate has a prior conviction for felony evading, but information about Akins was unavailable.

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