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Breaking News

    A man is dead after a shooting Tuesday morning in southwest Atlanta, officials said.  The fatal shooting happened at a home in the 800 block of Smith Street, Atlanta police told AJC.com.  Officers were sent to the house shortly before 10 a.m. and found the man with a gunshot wound to the chest, police spokesman Officer Anthony Grant said. The unidentified man died of his injuries.  Homicide investigators are en route to the scene of the shooting, Grant said. An investigation is ongoing.  In other news: 
  • A Forsyth County middle school is investigating dozens of Snapchat messages among students that included racial epithets as well as references to slavery and lynching, officials said. The messages between Vickery Creek Middle School students were sent in a group chat on the social media platform earlier this month, according to an email from the principal to parents that was obtained by Channel 2 Action News. The email said 11 students “will be receiving disciplinary consequences for their actions.” School officials met with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office for nearly six hours to review more than 130 screenshots of messages, the news station reported. The mothers of two recipients of the messages spoke to Channel 2 along with their attorney. They asked to remain anonymous. The mother of a 13-year-old multiracial girl said the messages told her daughter to kill herself. “I don’t want my daughter to feel like she doesn’t deserve to be treated ... like an equal,” she said. “This damages your self worth in a way that you cannot imagine.” Thomas Reynolds, who represents the families, told the news station he counted at least 60 uses of the n-word in the group chat. He said there were other obscenities. “It’s some of the worst language I’ve ever seen,” Reynolds said. “They’re talking about whipping people, hanging them in trees.” Forsyth County Schools sent Channel 2 a statement regarding the investigation that said, in part: “The hateful language and racism used by these children are not tolerated in our schools. Forsyth County Schools expects and demands that all individuals are treated with integrity, dignity and respect.” One of the 11 students disciplined in connection with the investigation is a biracial 13-year-old boy who “was called the n-word over and over” during the exchange, his mother told Channel 2. The teen reacted with a threat after someone posted a picture of a slave and suggested the man in the picture was his grandfather. His grandfather died “not too long ago” and “he was very hurt” by the Snapchat conversation, the teen’s mother said. His response, however, resulted in a 10-day suspension and possible expulsion. The district has not disclosed the specific punishments for other students involved in the incident or any other details about the investigation.
  • A body was found in a shed behind an abandoned southwest Atlanta restaurant after crews put out a blaze Wednesday morning.  The structure, located behind a former Mexican restaurant on Metropolitan Parkway, was fully engulfed in flames when authorities arrived about 4 a.m. The road was shut down for several hours south of Langford Parkway while firefighting efforts were underway. Atlanta fire spokesman Anare Holmes said the body was not found until after the flames were knocked down and firefighters conducted a search. “We are unsure at this time if the fatality is due to the fire or if there’s something suspicious,” he told AJC.com. “We called our partner DeKalb County, and they brought their dog.” Atlanta fire and police officials are leading the investigation with DeKalb’s assistance. The incident commander made the decision to bring in the detection dog, which Holmes said is standard procedure in possible arson cases. According to authorities, the building has not been in use for quite some time. It is located in a mostly abandoned stretch of Metropolitan Parkway between Avery and Perkerson roads, next to a storage facility and across the street from an apartment complex. Metropolitan Parkway was reopened to traffic by 7:30 a.m. It is not known if the victim was male or female.  “We don’t know if they were homeless,” Holmes said. “We don’t know how the body got there.” In other news: 
  • Police are looking for three men they say were involved in a shooting that sent a security worker on a movie set to the hospital, Channel 2 Action News reported.  Tomesha Brown, 28, was hit when the men fired at the movie set Friday evening, her mother, Suzette Brown, told the news station. She was on a ventilator in the intensive care unit Monday. “For this to happen is just so unfair,” she said.  Brown was working as a security guard for a movie being filmed at the Citizens Lanes Bowling Alley in Union City, the woman’s mother said.  She had just arrived to work when the shooting happened, her mother said. “Then you’re in a situation where you can’t even work on your job because somebody is trying to kill you,” Suzette Brown said.   According to surveillance video, three young men walked through the bowling alley parking lot. A production crew member told the men the parking lot was off limits, Channel 2 reported.  The men then walked off the property toward a treeline, but one of them started shooting and Brown was caught in the gunfire.  Movie production at the bowling alley was shut down Monday after the shooting happened, Channel 2 reported.
  • A pilot died when the gyrocopter he was flying crashed in Polk County on Monday afternoon, officials said.  The aircraft landed in a cotton field between Collard Valley and Wyatt roads about 1:30 p.m., Polk County police Chief Kenny Dodd told AJC.com.  RELATED: 2 men killed when small plane crashes into DeKalb townhouse It’s not clear what led to the crash. Police are investigating the circumstances of the incident, Dodd said. A gyrocopter is an aircraft that has spinning blades at the top and resembles a helicopter, but is pushed forward by a propeller located in the back of the vehicle.  Investigators are working to identify the pilot, who is not from the area, and notify next of kin, Dodd said. No other details were released.  RELATED: Investigation underway after pilot due to perform at air show ejects from plane   — Please return to AJC.com for updates. In other news: 
  • Atlanta police are looking for four people in connection with a carjacking that left a woman dead and a man injured outside a southwest Atlanta apartment complex. Officers were sent to the scene in the 500 block of Fulton Street about 11:55 p.m. Saturday, police said in a statement. They found the man shot in the leg and the woman with  wounds to her leg and side outside the complex in the Mechanicsville neighborhood. Both were taken to Grady Memorial Hospital. The man was stable. The woman was pronounced dead at Grady. The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office on Monday identified the victim as 48-year-old Rennaee Alexander. Investigators said the woman was leaving an event in a silver Chevrolet Malibu when a masked man tried to carjack her.  Another woman, who was sitting in her Chevrolet Camaro, saw the attempted carjacking. As she watched, a second masked man appeared, approached the Camaro and carjacked her, police said.  The second woman was not hurt when the masked man took her Camaro. However, gunfire soon erupted when the first masked man started shooting into the Malibu, police said. Alexander was shot twice.  A man, who was a friend of the victim, ran to her car to render aid, but a suspect shot him in the leg, police said. The two men took off in the Camaro, which was later recovered at an undisclosed location, officials said. Other suspects, who might have been women, ran.  In a statement to residents, apartment officials said their thoughts and prayers are with the victim’s family.  “Property management will continue working closely with the Atlanta Police Department to apprehend those responsible for this tragic loss,” Columbia Residential said in the statement. “We are also in communications with residents to ensure all concerns are addressed.” Alexander leaves behind three sons between the ages of 21 and 26 years old, according to a GoFundMe page set up to help with funeral expenses. The page, started by one of her sons, described her as a Navy veteran. Anyone with information about the deadly carjacking is asked to contact police. Tipsters can remain anonymous, and be eligible for rewards of up to $2,000, by contacting Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-8477, texting information to 274637 or visiting the Crime Stoppers website.
  • A gunman is wanted after a deadly shooting investigation shut down all southbound lanes of I-675 in Clayton County for more than three hours Thursday morning.  A passenger in an SUV was found with multiple gunshot wounds in the area of Forest Parkway, according to Clayton County police. The victim, a 30-year-old man, was dead in the abandoned vehicle when officers arrived on the scene about 2:20 a.m.  Investigators believe there was some type of altercation that continued onto I-675 and ultimately ended in gunfire.  The interstate shooting investigation may be connected to another scene at an extended stay motel near I-285 in Forest Park, according to police in that city. When officers responded to the Home Lodge on Old Dixie Highway to investigate multiple reports of gunshots, they did not find any victims. Witnesses described a “gun battle” in the parking lot, Forest Park police Sgt. Kelli Flanigan said. Shortly after the man was found on I-675, another gunshot victim showed up at a nearby Emory Hospital location. The 24-year-old man had been shot multiple times to his lower limbs. “At this time, detectives from our Criminal Investigations Division along with officers from the Clayton County Police Department are all working together to determine if these scenes are related,” Flanigan said. “No suspects have been taken into custody.” All southbound lanes of I-675 were blocked while police and K-9 units searched for other occupants of the SUV. The lanes reopened just before 6 a.m., according to the WSB 24-hour Traffic Center. The deadly shooting was the first of two on metro Atlanta interstates Thursday. A woman was found dead of an apparent gunshot wound in a vehicle on I-85, according to Gwinnett County police.  RELATED: Deadly shooting investigation ties up traffic on I-85 Detectives are still working to determine the circumstances surrounding her death, but it does not appear to be a suicide, a police spokeswoman said. Her body was found in the driver’s seat. » For updated traffic information, listen to News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB and follow @ajcwsbtraffic on Twitter.  — Please return to AJC.com for updates. 
  • Fort Stewart is preparing to hold a private memorial service Thursday for the three troops who were killed there during a training accident early in the morning of Oct. 20. The Savannah-area military installation will honor Pfc. Antonio Gilbert Garcia, 21, of Phoenix, Ariz.; Sgt. 1st Class Bryan Andrew Jenkins, 41, of Gainesville, Fla.; and Cpl. Thomas Cole Walker, 22, of Conneaut, Ohio. Meanwhile, the investigation of how they died continues. In addition to the 3rd Infantry Division, teams from the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center at Fort Rucker, Ala., and U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command are probing the accident. The troops were training for a deployment to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif. in February when the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle they were riding rolled off a bridge and became submerged — upside down — in a stream. That represents at least the third fatal military vehicle rollover involving Georgians this year. A funeral was scheduled for Jenkins Wednesday in Pembroke, Ga., according to an obituary published by the Coastal Courier newspaper in Hinesville. Born in Gainesville, Fla., he served 18 years in the U.S. Army, did two tours in Iraq, enjoyed fishing and was a shadetree mechanic, says his obituary. He is survived by his wife, son, two daughters, two brothers and a sister. Walker graduated in 2016 from Conneaut High School in Ohio, where he played football, according to an obituary published by the Marcy Funeral Home in Conneaut. “He was an amazing young man who enjoyed hosting backyard BBQ’s with his friends and family,” the obituary says. “He was passionate, selfless, and had an infectious smile everyone loved.” He is survived by his wife, who he married in May; his father; brother and three sisters. A funeral has been scheduled for him for Saturday in Conneaut. Last week, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced on Twitter that flags would be lowered to half-staff on Oct. 22 in honor of Garcia. “U.S. Army Pfc. Antonio Garcia served our nation honorably,” Ducey said. “He will be remembered for his commitment to duty and willingness to serve.” In a statement published by the Daily Independent newspaper in Sun City, Ariz., Garcia’s father and mother called him “brave, kindhearted and loving” and said he “loved his family, friends and his country.” “As a family, we are shocked and devastated by the loss of our beloved Antonio. While his time was far too short, we are so thankful and appreciative of the time we had with him,” the statement says. “We love him with every fiber of our beings and we will cherish and celebrate his life and carry on his memory forever.”
  • It's common for residents near DeKalb-Peachtree Airport to hear the sounds of planes overhead. But West Hutchinson said he knew right away that this was different. Sitting on his back porch Wednesday morning, Hutchinson heard the sound of a plane struggling to gain altitude.  “All of a sudden, I heard a really loud crack,” Hutchinson told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It was obvious that the plane had crashed, because it was really loud and all of a sudden went immediately silent.”   MORE: Officials identify 2 North Carolina men killed in DeKalb plane crash The single-engine Piper-28 went down minutes after takeoff, slamming into the top floor of a DeKalb County townhouse and leaving two men dead. The DeKalb County Medical Examiner’s Office on Thursday identified the victims as North Carolina residents Leslie Csanyi Jr., 59, who was piloting the plane, and Scott Robert Lowrie, 60. The owner of the plane was not on board, Channel 2 Action News confirmed.  Wreckage of the small aircraft was scattered over half a mile. The cause remains under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.  PHOTOS: Plane hits townhome complex in DeKalb County Hutchinson called 911, then got into his car and drove around looking for the plane. But he never saw smoke and couldn’t pinpoint where it went down. Arriving firefighters and police officers located the wreckage: The aircraft hit the Clairmont Hills Townhomes, in the area of I-85 and Clairmont Road.  Jared Hauck said he was at home when he heard a crash and quickly went outside, not sure what he would find. He was shocked to see gas pouring out of a building that had been hit by wreckage.   “And then I turned and I looked and the building next to me is completely destroyed,” Hauck told Channel 2 Action News. “It was obvious a plane had crashed into the unit next to mine. I was thinking, ‘Oh my god, I need to call the police.’” Investigators quickly determined one person had died in the crash. Hours later, fire officials said a second man aboard the plane also died. No one was inside the complex building at the time of the crash, and no other injuries were reported, according to DeKalb fire Capt. Dion Bentley. Six units were deemed unsafe due to structural damage and fuel vapors. The Red Cross was assisting those displaced. RELATED: 4 deadly plane crashes that rocked metro Atlanta The aircraft crashed shortly after departure at 10:30 a.m., Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said. The fixed wing plane was headed to Salisbury, N.C., FAA and online flight records show.   Though the cause of the crash was not immediately known, the weather has not been ruled out as a factor. Visibility was three miles and heavy rain had just passed through the area when the plane went down, Channel 2 meteorologist Brian Monahan said.  Wednesday’s accident comes more than four years after a single-engine Piper crashed onto I-285 shortly after takeoff from PDK on May 8, 2015. Pilot Greg Byrd, his sons Christopher and Phillip, and Christopher’s fiancée, Jackie Kulzer, died in the crash. In its final report, the NTSB cited a partial loss of engine power due to a contaminated fuel pipe as the likely cause. On Sunday, a small plane made an emergency landing on I-75 in North Georgia, avoiding a crash. The Cessna 337 twin engine plane landed in the northbound lanes of I-75 near Union Grove Road, according to the Georgia State Patrol. No one was injured.
  • A small passenger plane made an emergency landing on I-75 in Gordon County on Sunday afternoon, according to the Georgia State Patrol.  Officials with GSP were notified shortly after noon that an aircraft had made an emergency landing on I-75 northbound near Union Grove Road, the agency told Channel 2 Action News in a statement.  The Cessna 337 twin engine plane landed in the northbound lanes of I-75 and the pilot steered it onto the ramp for exit 310, officials said. The pilot said he had experienced some type of fuel-related issue, GSP said.  The pilot and his passenger were not injured.  The northbound lanes of I-75 were closed while GSP officials responded and worked to move the plane.  A representative with the Federal Aviation Association gave permission for the aircraft to be moved, and it was towed about two miles to Tom B. David Airport in Calhoun, officials said.  In other news: