In Your Community

Photos: A look at Georgia’s cold case files

Photos: A look at Georgia’s cold case files

Each week, the AJC spotlights  an unsolved crime from metro Atlanta and the state. Investigators are seeking information on these cases.
Gwinnett police officer hit directing traffic at Norcross High School

Gwinnett police officer hit directing traffic at Norcross High School

A Gwinnett County police officer was hit directing traffic Monday morning at Norcross High School, police said. The incident happened about 7 a.m. “The officer was not seriously injured and refused to be transported by ambulance to the hospital,” Gwinnett police Cpl. Deon Washington said. The driver was cited for failing to obey an officer directing traffic and not having a driver&rsquo...
Decomposing body ID’d as Cobb woman; cops say drugs a factor in death

Decomposing body ID’d as Cobb woman; cops say drugs a factor in death

Police confirmed Monday that a decomposing body found Saturday was that of a woman who was reported missing from a north Cobb County neighborhood two days earlier.  Melissa Fisher, 38, of Acworth, was reported missing Sept. 21, Acworth police Capt. Mark Cheatham said in a news release. She did not live at the home. About 9 a.m. Saturday, a resident of a home in the 4500 block of Baker Grove...
FBI: Dad charged in death of baby in custody

FBI: Dad charged in death of baby in custody

The Gwinnett County man who is charged in the death of his 3-month-old daughter was arrested Saturday, authorities said. Charles Hamilton, 44, was arrested by the FBI after he stepped off a Delta Air Lines flight that had just arrived in Atlanta from the Dominican Republic, FBI spokesman Stephen Emmett said in a statement. Earlier this week, Hamilton’s vehicle had been found at Hartsfield-Jackson...
Atlanta man’s code on Army computer cost taxpayers $2.6M

Atlanta man’s code on Army computer cost taxpayers $2.6M

An Atlanta man was convicted Wednesday of placing malicious code on a U.S. Army computer that eventually cost taxpayers about $2.6 million, a federal prosecutor’s office said. Mittesh Das, 48, was found guilty of knowingly transmitting malicious code with the intent to cause damage to an Army computer, John Stuart Bruce, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, said in a news...
Second suspect arrested in deadly shooting of man in front of son

Second suspect arrested in deadly shooting of man in front of son

Police have arrested the second suspect in the case of a man who was shot to death in Gainesville in front of his 15-year-old son. Marquis Lejon Studivant, 27, was arrested Friday after a brief chase, Gainesville police spokesman Kevin Holbrook said Saturday. Dennis Ronald Gayton, 47, was shot April 4 on Carlton Street, police said earlier. The incident was drug-related, Holbrook said. Studivant already...
2 found dead in Gwinnett house

2 found dead in Gwinnett house

Two people were found dead Saturday with gunshot wounds in a Gwinnett County house, police said. Officers responded shortly after noon and found the bodies of a man and a woman in the 1200 block of Bishops Lane in the Lawrenceville area, spokesman David Smith said in a statement. A family member came to the home to check on the two residents but couldn’t make contact, Smith said. “The...
Suspect in deadly I-85 crash granted bond, but ordered not to drive

Suspect in deadly I-85 crash granted bond, but ordered not to drive

The man who is charged in connection with a crash that killed a mother of five on I-85 South was granted bond Friday — with a condition, Channel 2 Action News reported. He can’t drive. Juan Marquez, charged with vehicular homicide, has been in the Coweta County jail since an Aug. 29 incident that also involved a tractor-trailer and killed Jessica Jose, 32. In seeking bond, Marquez&rsquo...
Tech shooting shines spotlight on campus police

Tech shooting shines spotlight on campus police

When a young officer with the campus police department fired a single bullet into the chest of a 21-year-old computer engineering student last Saturday night, it marked the first time a Georgia Tech officer discharged his weapon in the line of duty. Sadly, that bullet turned out to be fatal, killing Scout Schultz, president of Tech’s Pride Alliance, and putting the career of 23-year-old Tyler...
Bail bond worker got wrong person; woman awarded almost $1M

Bail bond worker got wrong person; woman awarded almost $1M

A bail bond worker went into a Walmart in Columbus in 2014 looking for a woman named Jasmine Hayes, who was wanted on a child cruelty charge, according to state court testimony. The bond worker found a woman by that name and handcuffed her in an office while her managers watched, testimony showed. However, the person that was handcuffed was not the right person. As a result, a jury awarded the...
Video released after Marietta man shot during deadly carjacking

Video released after Marietta man shot during deadly carjacking

Atlanta police are seeking the public’s help to identify those suspected in the shooting death of a Marietta man carjacked in southwest Atlanta. “Investigators are releasing surveillance footage of the suspects in an effort to identify anyone involved in this homicide,” Atlanta police Sgt. John Chafee said.   Martin Hvizda, 31, was found dead about 7:30 p.m. Saturday in...
Former PE teacher arrested again, accused of sexually assaulting student 

Former PE teacher arrested again, accused of sexually assaulting student 

For the second time in a month, a former Union County middle school physical education teacher was arrested on allegations she sexually assaulted a student.  Shawnetta D. Reece, 40, of Blairsville, has been accused of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old high school senior in 2015, according to a GBI release.  Officials discovered the additional allegations while investigating Reece&rsquo...
Caregiver pleads guilty to stealing $50K from Alzheimer’s patient

Caregiver pleads guilty to stealing $50K from Alzheimer’s patient

A caregiver is banned from working with the elderly after she pleaded guilty to stealing thousands from a patient with Alzheimer’s disease, DeKalb County’s top prosecutor said.  Diandra Abernathy on Wednesday entered a guilty plea to three counts of exploitation of an elder person and two counts of identity fraud, DeKalb District Attorney Sherry Boston said Friday in a statement....
Suspect in shooting death arrested in metro Atlanta

Suspect in shooting death arrested in metro Atlanta

A man wanted in connection with a shooting death in Middle Georgia was arrested in Clayton County, authorities said. Corey Deshaun Humes, 33, was charged in Houston County with tampering with evidence and possession of a gun by a felon in connection with the death of Curtis Thomas, the Macon Telegraph reported. Thomas, 23, was fatally shot Sept. 14 in front of a home, according to the newspaper...
Report says GSU stadium has failing sprinkler system; fire marshal says it’s safe

Report says GSU stadium has failing sprinkler system; fire marshal says it’s safe

State officials allowed Georgia State’s new stadium to operate despite a failing sprinkler system and fire pump, according to a recent fire inspection report obtained by Channel 2 Action News.  Nearly 700 sprinkler parts have been recalled and it has been recommended that they be replaced, according to the news station.  But Georgia State Fire Marshal Dwayne Garriss said the recommendations...
Thieves steal from paramedics’ ambulance while they help patient

Thieves steal from paramedics’ ambulance while they help patient

Police in DeKalb County are seeking the people, possibly two men, who stole thousands of dollars worth of electronics and other items from an ambulance while the medical technicians worked on a patient in a nearby home. Items such as car keys, wallets, debit cards and Social Security cards were taken last week in the incident on Soapstone Road, Channel 2 Action News reported. <div></div>...
Police: Bomb-making materials found in Athens apartment

Police: Bomb-making materials found in Athens apartment

A man was denied bond Thursday after authorities found a variety of bomb-making materials in his Athens apartment, according to reports. David Aaron Romine, 31, allegedly had a metal pipe with both ends capped, drawers filled with electrical components, chemicals, soldering tools, wiring, an alarm clock and 2-liter bottles with wires taped to them, the Athens Banner-Herald reported. When asked about...
Can fast buses help ease Atlanta’s traffic nightmare?

Can fast buses help ease Atlanta’s traffic nightmare?

LOS ANGELES – For decades metro Atlanta residents have debated whether to expand MARTA rail service into the suburbs – a debate that usually ended with suburban residents saying “no.” But another form of public transportation – bus rapid transit – has quietly captured the imagination of many public officials. Though it does not exist yet in Georgia, it’s already...
Sketch released of woman found dead in street

Sketch released of woman found dead in street

Four days after a woman was found dead from multiple gunshot wounds in the middle of a northwest Atlanta street, authorities have not been able to identify her. Atlanta police hope a sketch released Sunday night will change that. The unidentified woman was found Thursday morning in the 1700 block of Hortense Place after officers responded about 7:15 a.m. to a report of shots fired, Atlanta police...
Hotel guest refuses to leave, prompts 12-hour SWAT standoff, cops say 

Hotel guest refuses to leave, prompts 12-hour SWAT standoff, cops say 

A guest’s refusal to leave a Gwinnett County extended stay hotel triggered a 12-hour SWAT standoff, police said. The incident started Wednesday afternoon at the Araamda Inn in the 5900 block of Oakbrook Parkway. Marvin Fernandez, 39, asked to return to his room to retrieve his belongings after the staff told him he was trespassing, police said. But “as he entered the room,” Gwinnett...
$1.8M stolen in minutes after couriers leave keys in van outside bank

$1.8M stolen in minutes after couriers leave keys in van outside bank

It took only 10 minutes for a suspected thief to steal nearly $2 million.  Two weeks later, federal and local officials are still looking for him.  Since Sept. 8, the FBI and DeKalb County officials have been searching for a man they believe stole the large load while two ATM couriers were making a cash drop at the Citizens Trust Bank in the 2500 block of South Hairston Road in Decatur...
UPDATE: Police search for man who left VA facility; all-clear issued at Emory

UPDATE: Police search for man who left VA facility; all-clear issued at Emory

When police tried to arrest a patient at the Veteran Affairs medical center in DeKalb County on Wednesday afternoon, his quick departure prompted an alert on the nearby Emory University campus, officials said. The unidentified patient, who is not armed, had not been found as of 6:45 p.m., school spokeswoman Holly Korschun said in an emailed statement to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. <div>...
Cops: Slain woman, at-large suspect had a relationship

Cops: Slain woman, at-large suspect had a relationship

A Cobb County woman who was found dead in her residence and the man wanted in her death had a relationship at one point, police said. Suspect Brian Marsh Semrinec, 24, and Shuyi Li, 28, also had a common employer, Cobb police Sgt. Dana Pierce told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday. Pierce wouldn’t elaborate on the timing of their relationship, nor would he name the common employer...
Suspect in deadly Atlanta apartment shooting arrested in South Carolina

Suspect in deadly Atlanta apartment shooting arrested in South Carolina

A month after Atlanta police found Deante Benton’s body outside an apartment complex, authorities arrested the suspected shooter at a home in Marion, S.C.  Mariol Rawls was arrested Aug. 17 by the United States Marshals service, according to a police report obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Rawls was identified as a person of interest a day after the shooting.  Benton...
Man gets extra year in Atlanta federal prison camp after birthday escape

Man gets extra year in Atlanta federal prison camp after birthday escape

Federal inmate Fernando Settles was already serving 20 years as a result of August 2009 drug trafficking conviction. He was scheduled to be released July 29, 2025. Now he can add another year and three months to that sentence after he escaped from an Atlanta prison camp to celebrate his birthday, according to prosecutors. “He decided that instant gratification was more important than serving...
Sheriff: Man wanted for ‘terrorizing’ woman in custody

Sheriff: Man wanted for ‘terrorizing’ woman in custody

A man is in custody after “terrorizing” a woman during an armed home invasion in Clayton County, according to the sheriff’s office. Renaldo Dennard Burns ran from deputies Tuesday after they saw him on Old National Highway, Sheriff Victor Hill said in a statement. Burns was caught and arrested. “Unfortunately for Burns, his cardiovascular conditioning was not sufficient enough...
Woman with Alzheimer’s found after walking away from assisted living facility

Woman with Alzheimer’s found after walking away from assisted living facility

A woman with Alzheimer’s disease was found after she walked away from an assisted living facility in Gwinnett County, according to Norcross police. Carmela Bravo Cutler, 81, had been the subject of a Mattie’s Call after someone reported she had not been seen since 8 p.m. Monday.  Authorities said she walked away from the Shekinah Home in the 500 block of Lawrenceville Street...
Delivery driver returns fire after would-be robbers shoot him

Delivery driver returns fire after would-be robbers shoot him

A delivery driver returned fire after he was lured to a vacant home in northeast Atlanta, ambushed and wounded in a shootout with would-be robbers, police said. Officers responded to the scene on Wisteria Way and Mellrich Avenue about 10:20 p.m. Tuesday, Atlanta police Officer Stephanie Brown said. The driver told investigators he was delivering Chinese food to the 2200 block of Wisteria Way when...
Georgia Tech tries to return to normal after shooting, protest

Georgia Tech tries to return to normal after shooting, protest

Georgia Tech administrators and student leaders scrambled Tuesday to respond to Monday’s campus vigil that turned into a violent protest that injured a campus police officer. Tech’s president, G.P. “Bud” Peterson, scrapped an appearance with Gov. Nathan Deal and Honeywell officials Tuesday morning to send a letter to students, faculty, employees and others accusing...
Cobb woman found dead at home; suspect at large

Cobb woman found dead at home; suspect at large

A 24-year-old Smyrna man is wanted by police after a woman was found dead Monday afternoon in her residence, Cobb County police said. Brian Marsh Semrinec was charged with felony murder and aggravated assault, Sgt. Dana Pierce said. Semrinec is wanted in connection with the death of Shuyi Li, 28. Officers found Li’s body in a residence in the 2300 block of Willington Shoals Place in Smyrna...
Windows shot out of car wash; deputies seek information

Windows shot out of car wash; deputies seek information

A car wash in Cherokee County had its windows shot out last weekend, and sheriff’s officials are seeking the people responsible. Deputies responded to the His Hands Car Wash & Detailing in the 11000 block of Bells Ferry Road about 8:30 a.m. Saturday, according to a news release from the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office. About a dozen shots were fired into the front windows during the night...
Driver charged in UGA cyclist death wants trial moved

Driver charged in UGA cyclist death wants trial moved

The driver who is accused of DUI and other offenses in a crash that killed a University of Georgia graduate student wants her trial moved out of Athens, according to a report. Whitney Baker Howard, 32, allegedly had several drugs in her system in September 2016 when she crashed her vehicle into a group of bicyclists, the Athens-Banner Herald reported. The crash killed Ashley Block, 25, and injured...
Listen to the 911 call in Georgia Tech shooting

Listen to the 911 call in Georgia Tech shooting

The campus police officer who shot and killed a Georgia Tech student Saturday night had just over a year on the force, law enforcement records show. On Tuesday, the GBI identified the officer as Tyler Beck. He joined Tech’s police force in May 2016, records show.  Beck was certified by the Georgia Peace Officer and Standards Training Council (POST) but had not undergone Crisis...
Marietta man carjacked, shot to death in Atlanta

Marietta man carjacked, shot to death in Atlanta

A Marietta man was carjacked and shot to death in southwest Atlanta, police said. Martin Hvizda, 31, was found Saturday in the 500 block of Joseph E Lowery Boulevard. “The shooting appears to have been a result of a motor vehicle hijacking,” Atlanta police Officer Stephanie Brown said. “And the unknown suspects fled the area in the victim’s vehicle.”  The car is...
Suspect in weekend shooting in SW Atlanta surrenders

Suspect in weekend shooting in SW Atlanta surrenders

Hours after authorities released surveillance images of a man wanted in connection with a weekend shooting in southwest Atlanta, the suspect surrendered at the police department’s Zone 4 precinct. Brodrick Davis, a 39-year-old felon, was charged Monday with aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, Atlanta police Officer Stephanie Brown said. Also charged...
Cops: Car used by dad charged with murder is found

Cops: Car used by dad charged with murder is found

The vehicle that is thought to have been used by a man accused of killing his 3-month-old daughter has been found, Gwinnett County police said Tuesday. “Charles Hamilton’s vehicle has been located at the Atlanta airport,” Cpl. Deon Washington said in a news release Tuesday. “We are working with the Atlanta Police Department and have detectives on their way to the airport to...
60 dogs, 53 lizards, rabbit, piranha seized from suspected puppy mill

60 dogs, 53 lizards, rabbit, piranha seized from suspected puppy mill

Sixty dogs, 53 lizards, a rabbit and a piranha were seized Monday from a suspected puppy mill in Fulton County, police said. Police rescued the animals about 12:30 p.m. in a warehouse zoned for commercial space after getting a tip and securing a search warrant to enter the building in the 4400 block of Commerce Circle,  Fulton police Cpl. Maureen Smith confirmed. Inside, authorities...
Georgia Tech student called 911 before shooting, GBI says

Georgia Tech student called 911 before shooting, GBI says

Friends and family said they saw no signs Scout Schultz was under great mental strain before the 21-year-old engineering student was shot dead Saturday night by Georgia Tech police. “I just saw Scout on Thursday, we were planning a board game night,” said Aby Parsons, a friend of Scout’s. “They (Scout) were saying, ‘Wow these are really good board games.’ That was...
Shooting leaves man dead in DeKalb basement

Shooting leaves man dead in DeKalb basement

DeKalb County police are investigating a shooting death after a man’s body was found in the basement of a home early Monday. The homeowner heard shots fired from the basement about 2:05 a.m., DeKalb police Lt. Lonzy Robertson said. The homeowner later found 30-year-old Steven Mayer, who rented the basement of the home in the 2300 block of Phillips Road, with multiple gunshot...
Notorious 86-year-old jewel thief Doris Payne released from jail

Notorious 86-year-old jewel thief Doris Payne released from jail

Doris Payne, the 86-year-old woman who has stolen about $2 million in jewelry over the last six decades and reflected on her crimes in a documentary, is a free woman again. Payne was arrested at a Walmart in Chamblee in July after she allegedly took $86.22 in merchandise from the pharmacy, electronics and grocery departments, according to Chamblee police. At the time, Payne was on 120 days of house...
Dad wanted after baby’s death in Gwinnett

Dad wanted after baby’s death in Gwinnett

An urgent search is underway for a man accused of killing his 3-month-old daughter, Gwinnett police said. Authorities have charged 44-year-old Charles Hamilton with murder, cruelty to children and aggravated battery in connection with the death of Adriana Hamilton. According to police, someone called 911 on Sept. 9 and said the baby was having breathing problems at an apartment in the 11400 block...
DeKalb SWAT situation involving mom, son ends peacefully

DeKalb SWAT situation involving mom, son ends peacefully

Police said an hours-long standoff in DeKalb County involving a man with a suspected mental illness and his 67-year-old mother ended peacefully. A DeKalb SWAT team negotiated with Jared Toombs, who now faces a false imprisonment charge after allegedly barricading himself and his mother inside a home in the 2900 block of Meadowview Drive, Channel 2 Action News reported. <div></div><br>...
1 shot after struggle in car; accused gunman sought

1 shot after struggle in car; accused gunman sought

A man was shot inside a car in southwest Atlanta on Saturday, and police hope new surveillance footage will help them locate the person wanted in connection with the incident. Officers responded to the 1700 block of Campbellton Road about 1:30 p.m. Saturday and learned two men were inside the vehicle when a struggle began, Atlanta police Officer Stephanie Brown said. “At some...
$3.2M in meth seized; 5 arrested in North Georgia

$3.2M in meth seized; 5 arrested in North Georgia

A North Georgia drug bust dismantled a meth lab and seized more than $3 million worth of crystal methamphetamine, officials said Saturday. Five people, one from Gwinnett County, were arrested Friday on charges including methamphetamine trafficking and conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, the Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office said in a news release. In all, officers collected...
Argument among 20 people results in deadly shooting

Argument among 20 people results in deadly shooting

One man is dead and another injured after they were shot multiple times early Saturday after an argument among several people in Covington, police said. The argument erupted among about 20 people gathered at the intersection of Chaney Drive and Puckett Street, Covington police spokesman Allan Seebaran said in an emailed statement. Shots were fired as a result. When officers arrived about 2:30 a.m...
Persons of interest sought in south Fulton deadly shooting

Persons of interest sought in south Fulton deadly shooting

Fulton County police have identified two persons of interest in connection with a deadly shooting in the College Park area. About 8 p.m. Thursday, someone shot Jermaine Payne as he walked into the Sierra Townhomes complex in the 2700 block of Godby Road, police spokeswoman Maureen Smith said in a news release. “The unknown suspect stole his property and fled the area on foot,” Smith said...
Driver, his mother charged in I-75 crash that killed motorcyclist

Driver, his mother charged in I-75 crash that killed motorcyclist

A driver and his mother have been charged in connection with a hit-and-run crash that killed a motorcyclist in Clayton County. On Sept. 4, Demosthenes Kostopapas Jr., 31, was killed when his 250cc Scooter was rear-ended on I-75 South near Bob White Trail, police Sgt. Ashanti Marbury said Friday. After an investigation, police charged Christopher Devante Walthall, 24, with vehicular homicide and other...
Student found with stolen gun at metro Atlanta high school, cops say

Student found with stolen gun at metro Atlanta high school, cops say

A Newton County High School student was found with a stolen gun on campus Friday, prompting a lockdown before the student was arrested, a sheriff’s spokeswoman said. The student, 17-year-old DeWayne Marcus Franco, was taken to the Newton County jail after the incident, Sgt. Cortney Morrison said. After receiving an anonymous tip, a school police officer and administrators went to the student&rsquo...
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