“Gun fight” behind Easy Shop results in misdemeanor reckless conduct charges

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

Two Griffin teens have been charged in connection with the Sunday afternoon shooting incident that occurred in the immediate vicinity of the Easy Shop Supermarket.
Originally dispatched as a drive-by shooting, investigators say they are uncertain the incident meets the criteria to be classified as such.
The GRIP on Wednesday spoke to Sgt. Chris Wilson, acting as the Griffin Police Department assistant public information officer, who elaborated on preliminary investigative findings.
“The actual location was right behind the Easy Shop on Ray Street. The intersection there would have been 14th and Ray streets. Right behind the Easy Shop, really,” Wilson said in describing the precise location of the incident, later elaborating, “If you’re standing in the doorway, it’s the road right there beside it (the Easy Shop).”
When asked if the two suspects were firing upon each other, Wilson said, “Each of them had a weapon. They were both firing.”
Wilson was asked about a statement attributed to GPD Chief Mike Yates that indicate the gunfire appeared to have originated in the vehicle travelling down Ray Street.
According to the Griffin Daily News, “Yates said police were trying to determine who shot first, the pedestrian or the occupants in the vehicle, and were in the process of locating those involved.”
However, the GDN went on to report that Yates “speculated that the pedestrian had been fired upon and the vehicle’s occupants were, “not expecting him to be armed and return fire.”
Wilson was unable to confirm that information, but he did say he personally had participated in the suspect interviews, and the question of who fired first remains unanswered at this time.
He explained that this is the basis of the incident not being considered a drive-by.
“I don’t really think this would be considered a drive-by, no. The two guys knew each other. They had history between them,” he said. “The reason it’s not considered a drive by is because we aren’t sure who fired first. If the pedestrian fired first, it wouldn’t be a drive-by.”
He said the investigation remains active and ongoing.
“We have two individuals firing weapons. Neither one of them was stuck. Nobody was stuck with each other. During our investigation, we have interviewed both individuals. Now, neither one of them confessed to shooting at each other, but there were shots fired, so, we can confirm that. We can confirm with evidence on the ground, at the scene, that there was indeed gunfire exchanged,” Wilson said, later adding, “There was a person in a vehicle and there was a person on the corner, but it wasn’t technically a drive by. The other part of that is we can’t determine who shot first. That’s what we’ve still got to determine. We’ve got a shooter here and we’ve got a shooter here.”
Arrested in connection to this incident were 18-year-old Timothy Watkins, who was charged with a single misdemeanor count of reckless conduct, and an unidentified 15-year-old who was charged with reckless conduct and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, which is a felony. The 15-year-old is being charged as a juvenile.
Wilson said gang charges are pending on each suspect, and that additional charges are possible.
Steve Blanks, the owner of the Easy Shop Supermarket, reached out to The GRIP, concerned by reports that the incident occurred at the Easy Shop.
“Some customer has put this on there (Facebook) as a drive-by at Easy Shop. This was a shooting between two people behind the business and a stray bullet made it up the street and busted out a window,” Blanks said. “Thanks to them, it’s looking like someone drove by and shot at our business, but this is a gunfight between a vehicle and a person on foot. Apparently, the person on foot was shooting at the vehicle and a ricochet went through the van window, not a drive by on Easy Shop.”
Wilson confirmed an Easy Shop customer’s vehicle parked in the business’ parking lot had been struck by gunfire. Two windows were shot out.
“I was in LaGrange when it happened,” Blanks said, later supporting his ‘gunfight’ description by saying, “The video evidence supported that.”
Blanks said he is concerned with reports of the incident occurring at his business.
“I just wanted to try and clear (it) up. It don’t look good, anyhow, all the frigging people shooting behind and a shot making it up the street, but it looks a heck of a lot better than somebody pulling off a drive-by on Easy Shop Supermarket,” Blanks said. “I think we are listed in the report as damage to property, but the shooting was down the road. There’s a car in movement up the road, so obviously the shooting was coming this way.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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