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Crime & Law

    An 18-year-old man is in custody after police said he stabbed three people in an Alpharetta home, killing one.  Shortly before 5 a.m. Monday, police received a call about a domestic disturbance at a home on Nathan Circle, according to Alpharetta police spokesman Sgt. Howard Miller. The disturbance involved a person with a knife, he said.  When police arrived, a man covered in blood met them at the door. The man told police that he and some of his family members had been stabbed. The family members were still inside the house, he said.  Officers went inside the residence and found two victims — a woman and a man — suffering from stab wounds. The woman’s condition was not released, but the man was pronounced dead. Investigators said the 18-year-old suspect fled before police got to the scene.  Alpharetta police called for a K-9 to assist in the investigation, and Johns Creek police brought their police dog to track the suspect down.  He was found about 100 yards behind the home and surrendered peacefully, Miller said. The suspect was also hurt, but investigators aren’t sure how he received his injuries. He and the injured victims are being treated at a local hospital. It is not clear how the suspect and the man he is accused of killing are related, Miller said. However, police believe the victim could be the suspect’s father.  “We have no reason to believe there is a danger to our community,” police said. Police have not released the names of the suspect or any of the victims. “... Our investigation is still developing and we'll release additional details when we're able,” authorities said in a Facebook post. We’re working to learn more. — Please return to AJC.com for updates. In other news: 
  • Rockdale County Sheriff Eric Levett has tested positive for COVID-19, he announced Saturday.  In a statement posted to the sheriff’s office Facebook page earlier this week, Levett said he had been self-isolating at home since last Friday after experiencing symptoms at work. After coming down with symptoms and leaving work early, Levett said he was informed that an employee with whom he’d had contact had tested positive.  “I had gone into a 14-day quarantine per my primary physician because I was not feeling well,” he said. “During this time I also advised everyone that I had been tested for COVID-19 and that I would provide an update on my test results as soon as I received them.” On Saturday, Levett said he received a call from the Georgia Department of Public Health informing him of his positive result. “Although this was not the news that I was expecting, it just further let me know how seriously we all need to take this epidemic and abide by the orders that have been put in place,” he said in a statement. “I would like to take this time to thank everyone for the calls, texts, and prayers for me and my family as well as my staff. My ultimate goal right now is to continue to make sure that my staff is protected as best as we can protect them and that the county is taken care of.” » RELATED: Metro Atlanta police adjust operations, services amid coronavirus As of Saturday afternoon, Rockdale County had 70 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and two deaths caused by the virus, according to health officials. I addition to Levett, four other sheriff’s office employees have tested positive for COVID-19, officials said. Sheriff’s office spokesman deputy Lee Thomas said that so far no inmates at the Rockdale County Jail have tested positive.  In other news: 
  • Douglasville investigators said the three people found dead inside a Lithia Springs apartment last week died of an apparent double murder-suicide. Officers responded to the Crestmark Apartments about 1:30 p.m. Friday after receiving a call about shots fired, Douglasville police spokesman Maj. J.R. Davidson said.  When police arrived at the complex off Crestmark Boulevard near Thornton Road, they discovered  the bodies of three people. RELATED: 3 people found dead inside Lithia Springs apartment Investigators identified them as 26-year-old Marshaun Russell, 29-year-old Asia Lawrence and 24-year-old Taj Luster. “Based on crime scene evidence, it is believed this incident is a murder-suicide,” Davidson said. “Detectives are still working to determine what led up to the shooting.” Authorities have not said which of the three people was responsible for the shooting, and an incident report won’t be made available until the investigation is complete. In other news: 
  • A College Park police officer is recovering after getting shot in the neck Saturday morning while chasing a murder suspect, authorities said. The chase began shortly after 11:45 a.m. when a license plate reader spotted a vehicle driven by 33-year-old Edward Lee Cherry and alerted police, city spokesman Gerald Walker told AJC.com.  Cherry was wanted in connection with a homicide that occurred Friday evening in Clayton County, according to the GBI.  The chase continued toward Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and involved officers from several jurisdictions, authorities said. At some point, Cherry exited his vehicle and allegedly shot at police, GBI spokeswoman Natalie Ammons said. Two College Park officers returned fire and a third officer was shot.  “(The) fleeing suspect was engaged near the intersection of Toffie Terrace and North Outer Loop Road,” Walker said. “It was during this encounter that College Park Sgt. Charles Landrum suffered a gunshot wound to the neck.” Police said the officer’s injury doesn’t appear to be serious. He was taken to Atlanta Medical Center, where doctors removed the bullet. He is expected to remain there overnight for observation.  After the shooting, Cherry got back into his vehicle and fled the scene, Ammons said. Georgia State Patrol troopers, College Park police and officers from the Hapeville Police Department pursued the vehicle to the 1200 block of Virginia Avenue in Atlanta, where Cherry wrecked and was subsequently arrested. A handgun was found at the wreck scene and police discovered that Cherry had been shot in the arm, authorities said. He was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital before being released and transported to the East Point Jail. It wasn’t immediately clear Saturday afternoon whether Landrum was shot by the Cherry or another officer involved in the chase.  The incident marks the 28th officer-involved shooting the GBI has been asked to investigate this year. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also tracks officer-involved shootings that don't involve the GBI, and those numbers sometimes differ from the GBI's tally. — Please return to AJC.com for updates.
  • About a week after a Gwinnett County man was accused of shooting his ex-girlfriend in front of their 1-year-old son, he was tracked down to DeKalb County and arrested. Deputies took Venezia Cole, 26, into custody Thursday night at a location off Flat Shoals Road in DeKalb, Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Deputy Shannon Volkodav said. After the March 25 incident, police announced a manhunt for Cole, AJC.com previously reported. RELATED: Police seek man accused of shooting ex-girlfriend in front of their 1-year-old The shooting took place about 3:30 p.m. at a home on Laurel Bend Court, according to Gwinnett police. Cole is accused of shooting the 22-year-old woman multiple times in the driveway and firing several shots at the house. No one was inside the residence. He was supposed to be dropping off diapers when the shooting happened, a family member told police. The child was not injured during the incident. “We’re thankful to know the victim of this horrific crime somehow survived her injuries and that her 1-year-old son did not lose his mother,” the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post. “This family remains in our thoughts and prayers as they recover from this trauma.” Cole faces three counts of aggravated assault, five counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and one count of aggravated battery, first-degree child cruelty and second-degree criminal damage to property.  He remains in the Gwinnett County jail without bond, according to online jail records. In other news:
  • A Georgia Southern University student from Decatur was arrested Wednesday after being accused of a deadly shooting in Statesboro last week. Wanya Malik Anthony, 24, was arrested by U.S. marshals on four felonies, including murder, in the death of 49-year-old Kenneth Emanuel Smith, Statesboro police said in a news release. Just before noon last Friday, officers responded to a parking lot at The George apartments off Woodlands Drive and found Smith, who had been shot, the release said. The apartment complex is advertised exclusively to college students and is located near Georgia Southern’s campus. Smith died after being flown to a Savannah hospital. Detectives were able to obtain a search warrant for a unit at The Hamptons apartments, which led to Anthony being named as the shooting suspect, the release said. That apartment complex is also advertised exclusively to students. University officials confirmed that Anthony is listed as a current student. Investigators obtained arrest warrants for felony murder, aggravated assault, armed robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime against Anthony. Several other drug-related warrants are also pending against Anthony, which are related to marijuana, Adderall, Oxycodone, Hydromorphone, MDMA and Alprazolam found in the Hamptons apartment. Anthony was booked into the Bulloch County Jail, where he remains without bond, according to online jail records. AJC.com has reached out to the sheriff’s office to request his mug shot. Anyone with information is asked to contact Statesboro police at 912-764-9911. In other news:
  • A Forsyth County man accused of plotting to attack the White House pleaded guilty, the Atlanta U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday. Hasher Jallal Taheb, 23, was arrested in January 2019 in Gwinnett County, where he was unwittingly the target of an FBI sting operation. He thought he was buying a truckload of weapons to use in an attack, during which he planned to blow a hole in the side of the White House and also attack other targets around Washington, D.C. He pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to destroy a federal building and is set to be sentenced on June 23. “Taheb hatched a dangerous plan that would have resulted in unimaginable injury,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “We are grateful to community members who noticed his dangerous evolution and alerted law enforcement.” According to the federal authorities, Taheb was reported to police by someone who had noticed him “radicalizing” and heard him talk of traveling abroad. During an undercover investigation by the FBI, he revealed he planned to take part in “jihad.” Authorities have said Taheb was influenced by the teachings of the late Yemeni-American imam and al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki. Taheb’s targets included the White House, the Statue of Liberty, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and a synagogue, according to authorities. He was arrested on Jan. 16, 2019, while trying to pick up semi-automatic assault rifles, explosive devices and an anti-tank weapon. Taheb’s plans sounded poorly thought out and extremely difficult to pull off, terrorism experts said in interviews with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, but could have still caused serious damage. “In the course of trying to get to accomplish a fantastical plot, somebody can get hurt,” Georgia Tech professor Margaret Kosal said shortly after Taheb’s arrest. “The FBI is forced to take all of them seriously, and that is what they should do.” In a bond hearing last year, federal public defenders Vionnette Johnson and Brian Mendelsohn suggested that Taheb had been led on during the undercover FBI investigation. The Forsyth Central High School graduate had been living with his mom and making $8.15 an hour at a car wash. He had never fired a gun in his life and didn’t know how, his public defenders said. “He is not a danger to the community,” Johnson said. “He does not have the ability to do any of this. … This grandiose plan, this fantastical plan, could not be farther from reality.” Federal authorities praised the unnamed community member who alerted police about Taheb, as well as the work of various agencies. “Thanks to a tip from a member of the community and the work of the agents, analysts, and prosecutors responsible for this case, the threat posed by the defendant was neutralized and the defendant has admitted his guilt and will now be held accountable for his crime,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers.
  • An urgent search for a murder suspect and his 2-year-old son kicked off Tuesday night after three members of the boy’s family were found shot to death in their Macon home. It ended Wednesday evening after a high-speed chase on a Florida interstate and a tense, hourslong standoff with authorities. By the time it was over, the child was safely surrendered and 29-year-old Caesar Zamien Lamar Crockett Jr. was taken into custody. Georgia authorities issued a Levi’s Call, the state’s version of an Amber Alert, for 2-year-old King Crockett early Wednesday morning after the bodies of his grandparents and an aunt were discovered, and the toddler could not be located. RELATED: What is a Levi’s Call? Deputies were called to the family’s home on Moreland Avenue about 9:20 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office. They found three victims — 67-year-old Janet Samuel, her husband, 68-year-old James Samuel, and her daughter, 47-year-old Lechasta Childs — shot multiple times and killed.  Jamila French, 30, the toddler’s mother, was also injured. Deputies were told Crockett started shooting after he and French were involved in an physical altercation, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.  “Crockett pulled a firearm and shot French’s mother and stepfather and sister, killing them,” officials said.  French was treated for injuries she sustained during the altercation and released.  According to the sheriff’s office, Crockett took his son and left the scene of the shooting in a black Pontiac G5. They were believed to be headed for Florida, where Crockett’s family lived.  The Pontiac was finally spotted about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday  near I-75 in Tampa. The Florida Highway Patrol tried to stop the vehicle and a chase ensued, reaching speeds of 120 mph down I-4, authorities said.  The chase came to an end when Crockett wrecked the Pontiac on the exit ramp from eastbound I-4 to I-75. He then barricaded himself in the vehicle with a gun and refused to hand over his son, according to officials. The state patrol, working with local police, eventually negotiated the surrender of the 2-year-old. Crockett did not surrender until about 7:40 p.m., more than six hours after the initial chase began.  King Crockett was not injured during the ordeal, according to the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office. His mother and sheriff’s deputies traveled to Florida on Wednesday to pick up the boy from local child protective services. French and her son were reunited Thursday. “On behalf of the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office, I send my sincere appreciation to the Florida law enforcement officers for their diligence and professionalism in rescuing little King Crockett and for taking into custody a very dangerous and merciless suspect,” Sheriff David Davis said in a statement. Crockett will be extradited back to Georgia to face three counts of murder and one count of kidnapping in connection with the Macon shooting, which remains under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office at 478-751-7500 or Macon Regional Crimestoppers at 1-877-68CRIME.  
  • A man is on the run after allegedly hitting his girlfriend and then taking an ax to her car Tuesday morning during an argument on the side of the road. According to Roswell police, 24-year-old Kimiani Ballew and his girlfriend got into a fight shortly after 10 a.m. while driving on Riverside Road. At some point, she pulled over and began removing his belongings from the vehicle, Roswell police spokesman Sgt. Zachary Frommer said.  Ballew, who works construction, took his ax from the car and struck the vehicle several times before running away, police said. Officers searched the area but were unable to locate him.  At some point during the altercation, Ballew hit his girlfriend, authorities said. She was was treated at the scene and released. As of Tuesday evening, Ballew had not been found.  In other news: 
  • Three people were taken to a hospital Monday night after they were shot in the parking lot of a DeKalb County elementary school, officials said.  The incident happened outside Narvie J. Harris Elementary School, according to the DeKalb County School District. The details of the shooting are not clear, but the victims are stable, the district said.  Two people were arrested and charged with aggravated assault in connection with the incident. Their names have not been released.  DeKalb County School District police are still investigating the shooting.  In other news: