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Crime & Law

    Within the past month, residents in Virginia-Highland have told police there were a dozen sightings of a peeping Tom in their neighborhood. Police have now released a photo of a person of interest, Channel 2 Action News reported. Neighbors who live on Greenwood Avenue have called police to report sightings of the man peeping into windows since September, Channel 2 reported. In some cases, he’s allegedly climbed on top of air conditioning units to try to look into bathroom windows. “There was a man standing and looking directly at me through the cracks in my blinds,” a woman, who asked the news station to remain anonymous, said. “We came face to face in the window. It’s very, very violating.” Last Thursday about midnight, another neighbor’s Ring doorbell camera spotted the man near her home, Channel 2 reported. The 12 sightings happened along the same street but at three different buildings. The most recent sighting was Saturday about 11 p.m., when a resident chased the man off while holding a screwdriver, the news station reported. “My fear is that eventually he’s going to get bored with just peeping into people’s windows,” the woman said. Anyone with information on the person of interest is asked to contact CrimeStoppers at 404-577-8477 or online at www.StopCrimeATL.com. Tips can be sent anonymously and information that leads to an arrest and indictment in this investigation can earn tipsters up to $2,000. In other news:
  • More than two dozen worshipers at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Stonecrest got sick when two men released pepper spray in the middle of the Sunday morning service, authorities said.  At least one person was taken to the hospital and 28 other parishioners were treated after complaining of burning eyes and difficulty breathing, Channel 2 Action News reported. The incident occurred between 10:30 and 11 a.m, police said. An off-duty DeKalb County police officer working security at the church identified the substance as pepper spray after being called inside, according to an incident report. The officer instructed the church members to step outside for fresh air after the pepper spray caused many of them to cough and hack. “It was terrible,” said New Birth member Cece Carr, who couldn’t understand why people were rushing outside and gasping for air. “It was like a quick exodus out of the door.”  In a video posted to his Facebook page, Pastor Jamal Bryant said he was about 10 minutes into his sermon when “chaos broke out in the sanctuary.” RELATED: New Birth names Jamal Bryant as new senior pastor “Two men came in our sanctuary in the middle of service and, we believe, unloaded pepper spray — sprayed it on the ground until fumes began to come up,” Bryant said. “People were running out of the sanctuary. People were gasping, people were crying, people were screaming.”  MORE: New Birth’s Jamal Bryant says church plans to build housing, medical clinic Those believed to have released the pepper spray were described as two young men wearing hoodies. In a statement, New Birth said the church’s security team is working with DeKalb police to identify the suspects. “None of our members were injured and we thank the local first responders for promptly addressing this matter,” the church’s statement read. “We have initiated a full-scale review of our security procedures and protocols and we will exhaust ourselves to ensure New Birth remains a safe place to worship and fellowship.” Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact DeKalb police.  In other news: 
  • A University of Georgia student who accidentally shot himself in the leg two weeks ago has been arrested and charged. William Jesse Holder was arrested by university police and charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct, according to UGA spokesman Greg Trevor.  The incident happened Oct. 8 when Holder was in a chemistry building at 140 Cedar Street, AJC.com previously reported. He was found responsive and taken to the hospital.  RELATED: UGA student taken to hospital after accidentally shooting self in leg on campus   The investigation found Holder “unsafely handled the weapon outside of the holster, which caused the accident to occur,” Trevor said.  A warrant for Holder’s arrest was issued six days later, UGA Police Department records show. He was later arrested.  The case is being handled by the Athens-Clarke County Solicitor General’s office, Trevor said. The campus carry law allows for students to have guns on campus with some exemptions.  In other news:
  • DeKalb County police have arrested a second suspect in a deadly shooting last month outside the Mall at Stonecrest. The Sept. 29 slaying of Kevin Downer happened in a parking lot after the eastern DeKalb mall was closed. Three men were identified as suspects in his death: Jermel Campbell, Taron Williams and Trayvon Williams. Campbell, 26, turned himself in to authorities Monday night, according to DeKalb police. Taron Williams surrendered earlier this month, and Trayvon Williams remains at large. RELATED: Suspect arrested in deadly shooting outside DeKalb mall; 2 sought Downer was found lying in the parking lot just before midnight. Witnesses reported to police that the gunfire erupted between the Stonecrest 16 movie theater and the Round One Arcade after a group of people were seen arguing.  RELATED: Man dead, gunman sought after shooting outside DeKalb mall Downer later died at a hospital.  Immediately following the shooting, police interviewed two persons of interest. It is unknown if those interviews led to the identification of the three suspects. They were all three identified by police Oct. 9. — Please return to AJC.com for updates.
  • A former southeast Georgia police officer will serve prison time despite his acquittal in the fatal shooting of a father of two.  Zechariah Presley was sentenced Friday to one year in prison and four years on probation, according to Jacksonville, Florida, news station WJAX.  A jury found the former Kingsland officer guilty of an oath of office violation, but he was previously found not guilty of the more serious charge of voluntary manslaughter, the news station reported.  The charges stem from the death of Anthony Marcell Green, who was shot and killed June 21, 2018, AJC.com previously reported.  RELATED: Georgia officer arrested after shooting, GBI says Presley followed a vehicle driven by Green, GBI officials said following the incident. The vehicle stopped, and Green ran from the scene, according to the state agency. Presley pursued and eventually made physical contact with Green.  MORE: Victim in police shooting ID’d as father of 2 “Green again fled from Presley, at which time Presley fired multiple shots resulting in Green’s death,” GBI agent Stacy Carson said after the shooting. Kingsland is in Camden County, about 335 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.
  • A shooter is on the run after a man became entangled in a domestic dispute and was killed Sunday morning at a DeKalb County apartment complex, police said. The victim, who was in his mid-50s, was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead. Investigators believe he was shot as the result of a physical struggle between a couple, DeKalb police spokeswoman Michaela Vincent said. Officers responded to a report of gunshots at the Aspen Woods Apartments on Flat Shoals Road about 5 a.m. After speaking with witnesses, they determined a man assaulted a woman before the victim was shot.  The man is considered the shooting suspect, Vincent said. He left the scene in an SUV and has not been found.  “We are not identifying the victims or suspect at this time as the investigation is ongoing,” Vincent said.  It is not clear how the shooting victim got involved in the couple’s dispute. The woman’s injuries are not considered life-threatening. The deadly shooting was the first of two incidents of gunfire DeKalb County police investigated Sunday. In the second, a woman was shot in the chest at a Covington Highway motel, just off I-285. RELATED: Woman critically injured in DeKalb County motel shooting The woman was rushed to a hospital in critical condition about 9:30 p.m. She is expected to survive, Vincent said. Both shootings are under investigation. In other news:
  • A woman was rushed to a hospital in critical condition after a shooting Sunday night at a DeKalb County motel. The woman, who is in her 20s, was found in the parking lot at the Americas Best Inn on Covington Highway when police arrived just after 9:30 p.m. The motel is located just off I-285. She is expected to survive, and her name is not being released, DeKalb police spokeswoman Michaela Vincent said Monday. “The shooting does not appear to be random but the suspect and motive are unknown,” she said. Investigators worked overnight to locate witnesses and review surveillance footage, Channel 2 Action News reported. Officers on scene told the news station that the woman was likely involved in a dispute before she was shot.  The shooting was the second of two incidents of gunfire DeKalb County police investigated Sunday. In the first, a man in his 50s became entangled in a domestic dispute and was killed about 5 a.m. at the Aspen Woods Apartments on Flat Shoals Road, police said. RELATED: Man fatally shot after domestic dispute at DeKalb apartment complex, police say Both shootings are under investigation.
  • An Atlanta firefighter who lost his leg after getting struck by a vehicle while responding to a call on I-85 said he wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for the quick-thinking actions of his colleagues. Sgt. Darrow Harden was hit by a car in May while responding to a wreck near Cleveland Avenue in the interstate’s northbound lanes. RELATED: Firefighter loses leg after being hit by car on I-85  “It was Mother’s Day morning,” Harden said Friday in an interview with Channel 2 Action News. “I got up, went to work. I think the call came in about 7:20 or 7:30, so that was the first call of the day.” The 47-year-old had just stepped off his firetruck to help a motorist who flipped over when the driver of a 2009 Pontiac G5 lost control, striking Harden and the firetruck. “I remember waking up on scene screaming and not being able to move my legs,” he said.  Harden lost his left leg as a result of the crash and nearly lost the other one, too. But the veteran firefighter said he would have died that morning if it weren’t for his colleagues at Station 2. “They’re fantastic,” Harden said. “This family, this crew, these team members — If it hadn’t been for them, I wouldn’t be here right now.”  Harden blacked out on his way to the hospital, but not before instructing his team members to call his wife of 26 years and let her know what happened. Despite the pain, the Atlanta fire sergeant was able to recall his wife’s phone number and repeat it several times in the back of the ambulance so paramedics could call her. As for his recovery, Harden said the last few months haven’t exactly been easy for him, but he seems to be in good spirits as he continues his physical therapy. “It’s long, it’s painful and it’s frustrating,” he said. “It’s recovery.” A GoFundMe page created to raise money for the the injured firefighter’s recovery collected $10,000 in its first day. To date, more than $25,000 has been raised for the father of three.  In other news: 
  • Police are searching for multiple suspects after a man was found shot to death overnight at a southwest Atlanta home. Officers responded to a person shot call at a house on Princess Avenue about 1:20 a.m. Saturday, Atlanta police spokesman Sgt. John Chafee said. When they arrived, police discovered the man’s body. A gun was recovered at the scene along with several different types of shell casings, leading investigators to believe the man may have been killed by more than one person. It’s unclear what led to the altercation, and investigators are still working to determine whether the gun found near the body belonged to the shooting victim or someone else. Authorities have not identified the man killed. Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact Atlanta police. — Please return to AJC.com for updates. In other news: 
  • Police have ruled that the deaths of a man and woman at a Gwinnett County extended stay motel Thursday morning were the result of a murder-suicide. About 3:45 a.m., a passerby spotted the bodies lying in the second-floor room at the Norcross Inn on Bay Circle off Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, police previously said. On Friday, the two were identified as Lacresha Jalyn Day, 24, of Seffer, Fla., and Delvin Antonio Shorter, 26, of Quincy, Fla. Both were found dead with a gunshot wound to the head, police said. Shorter is accused of being the shooter. The case was previously being investigated as a double homicide, AJC.com reported. RELATED: Police investigating after 2 bodies spotted inside Gwinnett motel room No other information on this investigation has been released. Anyone with information is asked to contact Gwinnett 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. In other news: