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    A man was followed after a Buckhead bar fight and shot as he was driving, police said. Investigators are not sure where the shooting took place early Friday, but told Channel 2 Action News the man managed to drive himself to a Hampton Inn on Piedmont Road and ask for help. Police told Channel 2's Steve Gehlbach the shooting was preceded by a fight that took place at the Whisky Mistress on Maple Drive in northeast Atlanta. TRENDING STORIES: Sheriff: Deputy never went inside to engage school shooter Man shot, killed in car in front of his children and wife Woman attacked during home invasion after posting car on Craigslist After the scuffle, the victim left the bar, got into his Audi and drove off, Capt. Andrew Senzer said. At some point, the shooter opened fire. “Somewhere between the Whisky Mistress and the Hampton Inn the suspect fired one shot towards the victim’s vehicle,' Senzer said. 'That round penetrated the vehicle and struck the victim.'  The injured man had a gun, too. However, there is no evidence he returned fire, Senzer said.   He was taken to Atlanta Medical Center and is expected to survive, Senzer said.  We're working on getting a description of the shooter and his car, on Channel 2 Action News at Noon.  Atlanta Police investigating shooting in Buckhead. Car with bullet holes parked at entrance to Hampton Inn on Piedmont near Lenox Rd pic.twitter.com/tMS7Ik6nbO — Steve Gehlbach (@SteveGWSB) February 23, 2018
  • A former Gwinnett County band director who has been charged with 20 counts of sexual assault had a relationship with a student in North Carolina that resulted in a child, Assistant District Attorney Matt Acuff said Thursday. Villie Jones, 44, was denied bond after a hearing on Thursday. The sexual assault charges, as well as one charge of child molestation, stem from alleged sexual relationships that Jones had with four South Gwinnett High School students. All of the students were female members of the school band, which he directed. Jones has admitted the sexual relationships on video, Acuff said. TRENDING STORIES: Man shot, killed in car in front of his children and wife Sheriff: Deputy never went inside to engage school shooter Among the cast of 'Black Panther' is a 91-year-old Atlanta actress In asking that bond be denied, Acuff cited the child that Jones had with a former student. Jones began a sexual relationship with the student 10 years ago, when she was a sophomore at a school in North Carolina where he taught, Acuff said. The relationship continued through the student’s high school career, and she had Jones’ baby at the age of 21, Acuff said. “There is reason to suggest that he’s been up to this behavior for about a decade,” Acuff said. Jones’ sister, Velandria Jones, said that she knew the child’s mother had been a student when the relationship began. Velandria Jones was one of five people who asked for Jones to be released on bond. Judge Warren Davis denied bond because he was concerned that Jones could commit another crime and because Jones could contact any of the four alleged victims, even though he would be barred from doing so. The fact that Jones had fathered a child with a former student led Davis to believe that pursuing sex with students was a “long-rooted” pattern that “goes back years,” Davis said. “My experience is: People don’t really change. They are who they are. When you’re dealing with issues such as relationships, sex drive, other things like that, that doesn’t change at all,” Davis said. “When I look at that and I balance that, I do find that the allegations and the pattern would cause a concern to the community.” Acuff expressed concern for the victims’ vulnerability if Jones were to be released on bond. Jones allegedly ignored directions to not spend time alone with one of the victims because she had mental health issues. Another alleged victim referred to Jones as her “boyfriend.” “That speaks to the amount of manipulation he is capable of,” Acuff said. If convicted of all charges, Jones would face a maximum sentence of 520 years in prison. This article was written by Amanda C. Coyne, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • As the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination approaches, the civil rights icon’s daughter said Thursday that limiting access to guns is long overdue. The Rev. Bernice King, speaking at The King Center in Atlanta, offered condolences to the families of the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and commended survivors for their activism to change gun laws. She said she hopes people can 'look toward solutions as these young people are forcing us to have the conversations, bipartisan conversations.' TRENDING STORIES: Man shot, killed in car in front of his children and wife Sheriff: Deputy never went inside to engage school shooter Among the cast of 'Black Panther' is a 91-year-old Atlanta actress She also said she plans to join them for the 'March for Our Lives' rally in Washington next month. 'I thought about the fact that, 50 years ago, my father was taken away from us with a rifle,' she said. 'A few years after, my grandmother was slain ... It is long past due in this society that we do something about the access to guns and the type of guns.' Martin Luther King Jr. was fatally shot on April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of a motel in Memphis, Tennessee. Starting April 4, The King Center will hold a series of events during a six-day span to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his death. The center will launch a cross-cultural act of kindness campaign, a peace prize award ceremony and a global bell ringing that will start at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis and the King Center in Atlanta. King said she wants to focus on peace instead of violence. Channel 2 Action News, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB Radio are also planning special commemorative coverage surrounding the anniversary. 'Daddy gave the vision,' King said. 'He outlined philosophy and methodology. But it was the people who embraced it. I'm hoping it will revolutionize our society to come back to it. I hope we don't miss this moment. Daddy said we still have a choice: nonviolent coexistence or violent annihilation. For me, it's recommitting to my father's nonviolent philosophy and methodology as we move forward.' King said the planning for the anniversary was an opportunity for 'deep healing.' The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • The jail that mistakenly released a convicted murderer says no one will be disciplined for what happened. The DeKalb County Sheriff's Office realized a mistake was made after the murder victim's family saw the murderer on the streets. 'Sounds like somebody didn't relay the right information or didn't look,' one DeKalb County resident told Channel 2's Tom Jones . The jail said it didn't know Javoris Hurston had recently pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Fulton County. TRENDING STORIES: Man shot, killed in car in front of his children and wife Sheriff: Deputy never went inside to engage school shooter Among the cast of 'Black Panther' is a 91-year-old Atlanta actress 'So, there's a murderer on the street again?' one resident asked.  Hurston had been free two days before a fugitive squad located him and put him back in jail. DeKalb officials realized the mistake after the family of murder victim, 51-year-old Barry Hawkins, saw Hurston on the streets and called wondering how he got out. 'I don't know this family, but I sympathize with them,' said a mother who also lost a son to murder. Hawkins was killed in 2015 on Ira Street in Atlanta. Hurston was arrested and then got out on bond. Soon after, he was arrested in DeKalb County on aggravated assault charges. Last June, Hurston was sent back to Fulton, where he pleaded guilty to Hawkins’ killing and received a 20-year prison sentence. Then he was sent back to the DeKalb County Jail to answer to the aggravated assault charges. The charges were dropped Feb. 15. The jail then released Hurston. DeKalb officials say Fulton didn't send over the disposition of the murder case so it released him. Fulton officials are looking into what information it sent. Residents feel bad for Hawkins family. 'My prayers go out to them because that’s not right. It is not right,' Butler said. The DeKalb jail says no procedural errors were made by its employees, so no one will be disciplined. Hurston is back in the Fulton County Jail awaiting transfer to state prison.
  • Atlanta police arrested two people in connection with a series of random shootings. One driver was shot overnight Wednesday on I-20 West near Holmes Drive. Another driver was shot on Fulton Street, flipped his car and hit two other cars. A third person was shot and killed in his car in front of his family on Flat Shoals Road in DeKalb County Police do not believe the shooters knew any of the victims. Police do not have a motive behind the shootings. We're gathering new details in the investigation for Channel 2 Action News This Morning starting at 4:30 a.m. The two surviving victims told police the shooter was in a silver SUV.The two victims are at a hospital and are stable. Police said a stolen SUV was involved in a high-speed chase in southeast Atlanta on Thursday afternoon. Georgia State Patrol said the chase ended when a trooper performed a PIT maneuver along Moreland Avenue. TRENDING STORIES: Sheriff: Deputy never went inside to engage school shooter Man shot, killed in car in front of his children and wife Metro Atlanta schools see spike in number of guns on campus Authorities said the driver, Mikeal Callaway, 24, and his female passenger were arrested. Friends and family held a vigil Thursday night for Nicc Bankston, the man who was killed. His pregnant fiancee was in the passenger seat and their young daughter was also in the car when he was shot. 'I just don't understand, but I can't try to understand,' Bankston's fiancee said. 'This is senseless. This is something that was unavoidable because there's nothing that he did wrong,' Bankston's aunt said. Police said they believe they have the only two suspects involved in custody. They said no charges have been filed yet as they work to figure out who should be charged with what.
  • UPDATE: Police say the girl has been located and is with her family. Authorities in LaGrange are asking for the public’s help locating a missing 5-year-old girl. According to LaGrange police, Aubri Parker Carston was last seen around 6 p.m. Thursday in the 800 block of Borton Street. Aubri was last seen wearing a turquoise long sleeve dress with a dog print on it. Her hair was up in a bun on top of her head. Anyone with information on Aubri’s whereabouts is asked to call 911. CLICK HERE to share Aubri's photo from the official WSB-TV Facebook page.
  • An Amber Alert has been issued for an 8-year-old girl from Florida. According to Channel 2’s sister station WFTV in Orlando , 8-year-old Juliet Odierna was last seen in the 3000 block of Oasis Boulevard in Cape Coral. Juliet is 4 feet 3 inches tall and weighs about 80 pounds. She was wearing a blue polo shirt, khaki shorts and black shoes. TRENDING STORIES: Man shot, killed in car in front of his children and wife Sheriff: Deputy never went inside to engage school shooter Among the cast of 'Black Panther' is a 91-year-old Atlanta actress Officials with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Juliet may be with 34-year-old Jennifer Odierna and 37-year-old Theodore Moschovas.  Moschovas was last seen wearing a light blue shirt with white stripes, tan shorts, brown sandals and a white hat. The three may be traveling in a black 2016 Hyundai Accent with the tag “CBN-123.” PLEASE SHARE! FL AMBER Alert for Juliet Odierna, 8yo W/F, 4'3', 80lbs, strawberry blonde hair/ blue eyes. May be w/ Jennifer Odierna and Theodore Moschovas in 2016 black Hyundai Accent, temp. tag no. CBN9123. See flyer. Info? Call Cape Coral PD at 239-574-3223 or 911. #FLAMBER. pic.twitter.com/WMrf13IOoI — FDLE (@fdlepio) February 22, 2018 Investigators haven’t released the relationship, if any, between Juliet and the two adults. Anyone with information on the missing girl is asked to call Cape Coral police at 239-574-3223 or 911.
  • Preparations are underway for the funeral of the Rev. Billy Graham. The Billy Graham Evangelical Library in Charlotte closed down Thursday as crews began putting up a tent on the grounds where Graham’s funeral will take place.  Channel 2’s Justin Wilfon traveled to Charlotte, where he learned about Graham’s final days.  [PHOTOS: Rev. Billy Graham through the years] For more than 70 years the Graham turned countless doubters into believers by reaching millions through TV and his crusades. “I think what’s interesting about Billy Graham is how he changed over the years,” said Tim Funk, religious reporter with the Charlotte Observer. “Over time, he became less fiery, less judgmental and almost became more like a grandfather figure by the end.” Funk had a front row seat to the end of Graham’s career. [Billy Graham's daughter: 'Daddy is home'] “I found him incredibly gracious and warm and humble,” Funk told Wilfon.  As a longtime confidant of the Graham family, Funk gave new insights into the reverend’s final days. “He could not hear, he could not see. I think he was frustrated that he couldn’t see because he loved to read the newspaper and he loved to read the Bible, and he couldn’t do either,” Funk said.  [Former President Jimmy Carter releases statement on Billy Graham's death] After circling the globe for decades on his crusades, Funk said Graham spent much of his final years alone at his home outside of Asheville. After spending a lifetime finding millions of followers, he died on Wednesday with only a nurse by his side. “I think he was lonely. I think he missed his wife, who died in 2007, and he talked a lot about how he couldn’t wait to die to be with her and God in heaven,” Funk said.   [PHOTOS: Billy Graham was counselor to presidents] Graham will be honored in Washington, D.C. next week. His body will lie in honor in the rotunda in the U.S. Capitol next Wednesday and Thursday. Members of the public are invited to pay their respects.

News

  • Timothy Jerrell Cunningham called out of work sick at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 10 days ago and hasn’t been heard from since, police say. >> Read more trending news His father, Terrell Cunningham, said something must be wrong.  When the 35-year-old’s parents arrived in Atlanta from Maryland, they used a spare key to enter the house and found Timothy’s car, keys, wallet and phone, WSB-TV reported.  'It's not the type of news you want to hear,” Terrell Cunningham said. “Your child is missing. Thirty-five years old, but always your child.' The father said his son is an accomplished man who graduated from Morehouse and earned a master’s degree and doctorate from Harvard University. As an epidemic intelligence officer, Timothy Cunningham has been deployed for public health emergencies, including superstorm Sandy, Ebola and Zika.  It’s unusual for him not to contact family, his father said. 'This is not normal,” Terrell Cunningham said. “This is definitely out of the ordinary.' Family and friends hope the missing man will be found safe.  Timothy Cunningham is 6 feet tall and weighs about 200 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call 911.
  • Latest updates, results, photo galleries and stories from the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
  • Officials in a school district in Pennsylvania decided to cancel classes for Friday after an alleged threat was found at a high school. >> Read more trending news The Greater Latrobe School District announced that a note was found in a bathroom at Greater Latrobe Senior High School, school officials said. The note was scribbled on a bathroom wall and mentioned Friday's date.  >> Teen’s warning thwarts possible school shooting in Vermont School leaders do not think it's credible, but are canceling classes at all five schools in the district as a precaution.
  • A bipartisan group of governors working to strike compromise on hot-button policy issues will take on the health care question at an event Friday. Republican Gov. John Kasich, of Ohio, Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, of Colorado, and Alaska Gov. Bill Walker, an independent, are among governors scheduled to headline a briefing at the National Press Club in Washington to discuss their latest ideas for improving the nation's health care system. Their blueprint, a copy of which was provided to The Associated Press, lays out a host of ideas for improving affordability, restoring stability, promoting flexibility so that states can innovate and eliminating duplicative and burdensome insurance regulations. The governors urge the federal government to restore insurer subsidies that were stopped by Republican President Donald Trump, triggering sharp increases in premiums this year. They also seek more outreach to help sign people up for coverage. Last year, the Trump administration slashed the ad budget for the Affordable Care Act's 2018 sign-up season. The governors also recommend action to shield insurers from the full cost of treatment for patients with very expensive conditions. That's called 're-insurance' in industry jargon. Alaska has already implemented such a program, with the blessing of the federal government, and it helped control premiums in that state. The idea has bipartisan support in Congress, but the outlook is uncertain. Their proposal doesn't merely call for federal government action, it also provides examples of effective state efforts that can be used as examples at both the federal and state levels, said Greg Moody, who leads Kasich's Office of Health Transformation. The blueprint incorporates agreeable solutions that states have found, for example, to streamlining regulations and cutting Medicaid costs, he said. Kasich, Hickenlooper and Walker are joined in the effort by Nevada's Brian Sandoval, a Republican, and Pennsylvania's Tom Wolf, a Democrat. A guiding principle of the group's work, according to the document, is to 'reject false choices' — items that are leading to some of the biggest disagreements around the nation over health care. For instance, it's not necessary to choose between ensuring high quality care and reducing costs, or between being fiscally responsible and being generous and humane, the group argues. They say a quality health care system can foster individual accountability and at the same time support people in need. ___ Associated Press Health Care Reporter Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar in Washington contributed to this report.
  • A man was followed after a Buckhead bar fight and shot as he was driving, police said. Investigators are not sure where the shooting took place early Friday, but say the man managed to drive himself to a Hampton Inn on Piedmont Road and ask for help. According to Channel 2 Action News, the fight originally took place at the Whisky Mistress bar on Maple Drive. After the scuffle, the victim left the bar, got into his Audi and drove off, the news station reported. At some point, the shooter opened fire. “Somewhere between the Whisky Mistress and the Hampton Inn, the suspect fired one shot toward the victim’s vehicle,' Capt. Andrew Senzer told Channel 2. 'That round penetrated the vehicle and struck the victim.' The injured man had a gun, too. However, there is no evidence he returned fire, police said. He was taken to Atlanta Medical Center in stable condition and is expected to survive, Senzer said. The gunman is still on the loose. “We’re trying to locate an actual crime scene where the shooting occurred,” Senzer said. This is the fourth time this week someone has been shot while driving. The others occurred early Thursday. Someone in an SUV drove around the city and randomly shot two people, police said. Two people were arrested in connection with those shootings. RELATED: 2 arrested in connection with series of random shootings A father was killed hours later in front of his children after someone opened fire on their car as they pulled into their DeKalb County subdivision, police said. No arrests have been made in that case, but authorities are investigating if the incident is related to the two shootings in Atlanta. RELATED: Man shot, killed in front of wife and children We’re working to learn more. —Please return to AJC.com for updates. VIEW: Map of crime in metro Atlanta NEW: Join the discussion at the AJC's Crime & Safety Facebook group Know what’s really going on with crime and public safety in your metro Atlanta community, including breaking news, trial coverage, trends and the latest on unsolved cases. Sign up for the AJC’s crime and safety newsletter delivered weekly to your inbox. In other news:
  • Before his death, Rev. Billy Graham chose one of his favorite Scripture verses from the Bible to be placed on his grave marker. >> Read more trending news Graham selected John 14:6 and the following inscription to be on his marker: BILLY GRAHAM NOVEMBER 7, 1918 – FEBRUARY 21, 2018 PREACHER OF THE GOSPEL OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST JOHN 14:16 John 14:6 reads, “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'” >> Evangelist Billy Graham dies at 99 The verse was central in Graham’s preaching ministry, and he often referred to it throughout his life. Graham will be buried next to his late wife, Ruth Bell Graham, who died June 14, 2007. The couple’s caskets were designed and built by inmates at the nation’s largest maximum security prison, Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana. >> Photos: Billy Graham through the years While touring the correctional facility after preaching there in 2005, Graham’s son, Franklin, saw caskets being built. Inmates at Angola make caskets for other inmates who cannot afford to buy one. Franklin was moved by this and requested that inmates make caskets for his mother and father. The caskets are made of plywood and lined with a mattress pad. A wooden cross is nailed to the top of the casket. The Graham family requested no upgrades to the plywood casket, only a few modifications to allow the casket to be transported easily.