The Union Recorder

January 16, 2014

New Year’s Day shooting suspects arrested

From staff reports
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — The Milledgeville Police Department’s investigation into two different Riverbend Apartment shooting incidents early New Year’s Day recently led to four arrests.

“At this time, we have four suspects in custody, in connection with the shootings. Det. Deidre Byrd’s investigation has been a challenging one to say the least,” Maj. Reginald Hill of MPD said. “The problem with this type of investigation is getting people to talk and explain the facts of what occurred. She has done an excellent job in getting the information in order to make the arrests.”

After securing the warrants for the suspects, MPD reached out to the BCSO for assistance due to the difficult task of locating the suspects living within county jurisdiction.

Lt. Steve McDade and other members of the sheriff’s office were able to take three of the four suspects into custody.

One of the suspects was already in the county jail on unrelated charges a few days after the New Year’s shootings occurred.

That Jan. 1 morning started out with police responding to two separate shootings two hours apart in the Riverbend complex off North Lincoln Street.

“These apartments have been plagued by gun violence for a while now. Fortunately for us, no one has been injured until these shootings occurred,” Hill said.

The first call of shots fired came at 2:42 a.m.

Police arrived on scene and found a male subject exiting an apartment with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle in hand.

The man told the MPD officer that after hearing several gunshots outside his mother’s apartment, he looked out and saw the weapon near the steps close to his apartment.

The man stated that he took possession of the weapon in order to turn it over to police, as they arrived. The weapon was collected by officers on scene and placed into evidence.

It turns out the serial number of the .223 caliber rifle, came back as stolen through the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office.

No suspects could be located or named at the time of the first shooting, according to Hill.

The next Riverbend incident followed closely at 4:20 a.m. Officers were back en route to the same Building 8 area in reference to shots fired.

This time, resident James Johnson had been shot. Johnson suffered from two gunshots to the arm, as he was standing outside the apartment, police said.

The scene was secured for MPD Crime Scene Investigator Deidre Byrd.

While officers canvassed that scene, another 911 call was received at the Golden Pantry on Hancock Street. Officers arrived and located several subjects inside the store, visibly shaken. Occupants inside the vehicle described being shot at while in the front of Building 8 in Riverbend Apartments.

MPD said officers found the passenger’s side window of the van shot completely out.

“The projectile travelled inside the van barely missing an infant child in the passenger seat behind the driver,” Hill said Thursday.

The projectile was recovered and turned into evidence. Police said the van appeared to be struck a couple of times on the driver’s side.

MPD is still actively investigating the case with more arrests expected.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the MPD tip line at 478-414-4413 or Det. Byrd at 478-414-4415.

“We hope now that we have all the suspects in custody more witnesses will come forward,” Hill said.