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Crime & Law

    A woman was killed Saturday morning when a suspect fleeing police ran a red light and crashed into her vehicle, authorities said.  The chase began about 9:15 a.m. when state troopers tried to stop a Mini Cooper for speeding on I-75 near Adairsville, the Georgia State Patrol said in a statement. The driver exited the interstate as the chase continued south on U.S. 41. Authorities said the driver of the Mini ran a red light at Ga. 140 and crashed into two cars, killing a 55-year-old woman.  The occupants of the other vehicle suffered minor injuries, police said. The driver of the Mini was arrested at the scene, but police have not released the names of anyone involved in the fatal crash. RELATED: ‘It rips your heart out’: Woman hit, killed by suspect driving stolen car The Atlanta Police Department announced earlier this year that officers would no longer chase vehicles following a string of crashes that left innocent motorists dead.  ALSO: Atlanta police chief halts all vehicle chases The DeKalb County police chief announced this week that the department will also review its chase policy, though no decisions have been made yet.  MORE: DeKalb County plans to review police chase policy  We’re working to learn more. — Please return to AJC.com for updates.  In other news: 
  • Four people, including a 12-year-old and 15-year-old, were arrested Thursday after a Spalding County pizza delivery driver was robbed at gunpoint, police said.  Griffin police were called to Marco’s Pizza on Ga. 16 about 8 p.m. after the driver said a man put a gun to his head and stole cash during a delivery.  According to police, the driver delivered an order to a home in the 600 block of Turner Street when he was met by an armed man standing on the porch. The man stole between $100 and $200, authorities said.  Based on the description of the suspects, officers returned to the scene and arrested four people: 19-year-old Djuan Head, 18-year-old Andre Head, a 15-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy.  Because the younger suspects are juveniles, their names have not been released. All four are charged with armed robbery, aggravated assault and possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime, authorities said. Police said they were also able to link the suspects to additional robberies.  “During the investigation, information was uncovered that will assist investigators in closing an armed robbery that was reported last week on Turner Street as well as a similar incident that occurred outside city limits,” police in a news release.  Additional arrests and even more charges are expected in the case.  Djuan Head and Andre Head remain held at the Spalding County jail without bond, records show. The suspects’ booking photos weren’t immediately available Saturday morning.  In other news: 
  • Gwinnett County police are searching for a hit-and-run suspect who may have shot at officers responding to a crash, authorities said. Police are on the scene of the collision, which occurred Friday afternoon at the intersection of Peachtree Industrial Boulevard and Shadburn Ferry Road in Buford.  “After the collision, the suspect fled the scene with a rifle,” Gwinnett police spokeswoman Cpl. Michele Pihera said. “There are reports that he discharged his firearm at responding officers as they tried to catch up to him.” The man was last seen running toward Buford Dam Road with officers in pursuit, she said.  We’re working to learn more. — Please return to AJC.com for updates.
  • A hit-and-run suspect who allegedly fired at Gwinnett County police following a crash was found dead in Lake Lanier, authorities said. Officers began searching for the man about 4:15 p.m. Friday after a wreck involving a stolen car, Gwinnett police said in a news release. The incident occurred at the intersection of Peachtree Industrial Boulevard and Shadburn Ferry Road in Buford.  The man, identified by the GBI as 26-year-old John James Monahan Jr. of Ellabell in Bryan County, used an AK-style rifle to carjack another driver who was involved in the wreck, authorities said.  “After the collision, the suspect fled the scene with a rifle,” Gwinnett police spokeswoman Cpl. Michele Pihera said. “There are reports that he discharged his firearm at responding officers as they tried to catch up to him.” Officers followed him into Shoal Creek Park, where Monahan eventually drove into Lake Lanier, the release said. That’s when he began to fire at officers, police said. A patrol car was hit several times by gunfire, but no officers were injured. Police returned fire before the car sank to the bottom with the suspect still inside. The Hall County Sheriff’s Office’s dive team found a body in the area near the vehicle, the release said.  The GBI was contacted to investigate the officer-involved shooting, making this the 18th such investigation the agency has opened this year. Monahan’s autopsy is scheduled for Monday morning, authorities said.  The 17th officer-involved shooting investigation was launched Thursday after DeKalb County police shot and killed a 75-year-old man who refused to drop a weapon outside his home, the GBI said. MORE: GBI ID’s man who was shot, killed outside home during confrontation with DeKalb cops — Please return to AJC.com for updates.
  • Dana Anthony Sterling had been out of a Georgia prison for less than five months when he raped and beat a woman who wouldn’t give him a crack pipe. He’d already been arrested 32 times, according to prosecutors.  But it took nearly 13 years for Sterling to be convicted of the crime, due to a backlog of rape kits. On Friday, the Fulton County District Attorney announced Sterling’s conviction for rape, aggravated sodomy, terroristic threats, kidnapping and aggravated assault.  From 1990 to 2006, Sterling served three stints in prison, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections. In December 2006, he was released after serving 17 months for theft, records show. RELATED: Grady releasing 1,000 rape kits withheld from law enforcement Then on May 16, 2007, Sterling approached a woman walking along Jonesboro Road in Atlanta, according to investigators. Sterling, then 41, asked the 31-year-old woman for a crack pipe, but she said no. Sterling then grabbed her from behind, placed her in a choke-hold and dragged her to some nearby bushes, the DA’s office said.  Sterling told the woman he would kill her if she didn’t obey him, according to prosecutors. He then raped and beat her, then dragged her to a nearby church, where he again raped her and beat her with a chain. Someone walking in the area saw the naked woman and called police, the DA’s office said.  At Grady Memorial Hospital, the woman was treated for injuries to her jaw, eyes, shoulders and neck. She was unable to speak clearly to help identify her attacker, the DA’s office said. She also underwent a sexual assault examination, which was sent to Atlanta police, according to the DA.  In 2016, Georgia passed a law requiring law enforcement agencies to submit any untested rape kits to the GBI. DNA testing linked Sterling to the 2007 assault, and he was booked into the Fulton jail in March 2018, records show.  According to the DA’s office, Sterling has 32 prior arrests and eight convictions, including in Texas, North Carolina and Florida, between 1982 and 2004. He is scheduled for sentencing for his latest conviction on March 9. 
  • A former Coca-Cola sales director will spend a year in prison and another 25 months on house arrest after embezzling more than $750,000 from the company and spending it on herself. Anne Gronek-Gibbs, 42, used the money to purchase luxury goods, first-class plane tickets, gift cards, purses and hotel accommodations, federal prosecutors said Friday.  RELATED: Former Coca-Cola employee accused of embezzling more than $450K from company Authorities said she used her position to obtain personal goods and services from Coke’s suppliers and then had the company pay for those goods by modifying electronic quotes, purchase orders and invoices. In all, she purchased hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of gift cards, jewelry and designer handbags, embezzling more than $750,000. “The defendant abused the trust her employer placed in her and stole to finance a lavish lifestyle,” U.S. Attorney BJay Pak said. “Gronek-Gibbs believed her invoice-changing scheme would cover her theft. Instead, she is headed to prison.” She pleaded guilty in November and was recently sentenced. She also received three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay back $753,551. In other news: 
  • Investigators have obtained arrest warrants for two people in connection with a shooting in a Lenox Square parking lot earlier this month. Shakeria King, 21, was arrested Thursday in Dublin on counts of aggravated assault, armed robbery and a firearm possession charge in the shooting, while the second suspect, who is a man, is still on the loose, Atlanta police said in a news release. The second suspect’s name was not provided. The incident happened about 2:20 p.m. Feb. 10 and came after one of the suspects and victim had a “pre-arranged meeting” in the mall’s food court, AJC.com previously reported. The shooting took place after the group relocated to the parking lot, leaving one man injured. RELATED: Police: Man shot in Lenox Square parking lot after food court ‘meeting’ with suspect The man, who is in his late 40s, met the suspect “to conduct some type of transaction,” according to an Atlanta police incident report. When the victim and suspect went to the parking lot, they met with a friend of the victim’s near a vehicle. The victim, who was shot near his ribs, was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he’s stable. According to surveillance video obtained by police, the shooter grabbed a suitcase in the rear of the victims’ vehicle and took it to a getaway car. The man who is still on the loose will face the same charges as King, police said. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact police. It was the third shooting at Lenox Square since December. Four days before Christmas, a Macy’s employee was shot in the stomach during an attempted carjacking in the mall parking deck, AJC.com previously reported. The victim survived the incident and was released from the hospital the same day. Two men were later arrested in connection with the shooting. MORE: 2nd suspect arrested in shooting of Macy’s employee at Lenox Square On Jan. 18, Atlanta police sergeants fired shots in the mall parking lot after an armed robbery, the GBI said. One of the suspects was shot twice by the officers. The injured suspect and another man were both charged. RELATED: GBI identifies 2 charged in officer-involved shooting at Lenox Square — Please return to AJC.com for updates. In other news:
  • The boyfriend of a slain Fort Valley State University student has been charged with malice murder, the GBI announced Friday afternoon. DeMarcus Little, 23, had previously been charged with criminal damage to property stemming from a Feb. 5 incident that left Anitra Gunn’s windows smashed and her tires slashed. Little was granted $10,000 bond on that charge Friday afternoon, hours before a news conference to announce the additional charge. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Gunn family and the Fort Valley State University family,” GBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Todd Crosby said as the evening news conference began. He didn’t provide additional details, saying doing so would impede the case. Little’s next court appearance hasn’t been scheduled. Macon TV station WMAZ streamed the proceedings. Gunn went missing on Valentine’s Day and her remains were found at 3:20 p.m. Tuesday, following a days-long search involving police and firefighters from numerous jurisdictions. Gunn, a senior communications major, graduated from Fulton County’s Westlake High School. Her disappearance has shaken the small Middle Georgia town of Fort Valley and the university she attended. A day after she was reported missing by her father, Christopher Gunn, her damaged car was found abandoned near her home. On Tuesday, a Peach County Sheriff’s Office deputy spotted a piece of the vehicle on the edge of a wood line and followed tire tracks into the woods, where he found her body covered with sticks. Hours later, the Fort Valley Department of Public Safety announced Little’s arrest. Christopher Gunn, who has asked for prayers and privacy as his family mourns his daughter, has launched a Go Fund Me campaign to accept donations toward funeral and burial expenses. “The ray of sunshine and the apple of our eye gained her heavenly wings,” the site reads. “Although we have so many unanswered questions, we are trusting in God thru it all. We are so THANKFUL for the outpouring of love, support and prayers from all over the country.” Friends and coworkers gathered to remember Anitra on Thursday night. Fellow Fort Valley senior Nia Bell became emotional speaking about her. “This situation is devastating. Every time I saw her, she was happy with a positive vibe,” said Bell. “It makes me scared as a woman.” At the Friday evening news conference, Peach County Sheriff Terry Deese talked about the impact Gunn’s death has had. “Y’all have been riding around in our community. You see how upset everyone is,” he told reporters. “When something like this happens it tends to bring people together. We came together.” The university is planning a candlelight vigil in Gunn’s honor at 6 p.m. Monday.
  • A Lithonia teen was arrested in Michigan on Friday and charged in the December death of an acquaintance he allegedly shot in the head.  Treonte Brintley, 17, was arrested by U.S. marshals in Oakland County, which is just outside of Detroit, the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. He’s charged with felony murder and aggravated battery in connection to the death of 18-year-old Bre’Savion Curry, who died days after getting shot in the basement of a Redan-area home.  RELATED: 18-year-old critically injured in shooting at DeKalb home Authorities said Brintley and Curry were with several others at a home on Kelleys Creek Drive when Brintley fired a weapon, striking Curry. The 18-year-old died of his injuries three days later. Several other people were inside the home when the teen was shot, including two children, DeKalb police said previously. Both children were questioned by investigators but later released. It’s still unclear what led to the deadly shooting. Brintley remains held without bond as he awaits extradition back to DeKalb County, online jail records show.  In other news: 
  • Four men and a woman have been arrested on murder charges following a Coweta County home invasion that claimed the life of a 14-year-old girl, investigators said Friday. Haley Adams found a place to hide Feb. 11 when four people stormed into her home on Bethehem Church Road and restrained her mother, authorities said. The group was looking for the owner of the home who was not there at the time, Coweta County Sheriff Lenn Wood said Friday afternoon.  RELATED: ‘Very senseless’: 14-year-old girl shot, killed after suspects storm home Adams came out of hiding minutes after the four returned to their vehicle, the sheriff said. She was shot when she went to the front door holding a BB gun, though she never fired any pellets.  “One of the four offenders fired multiple rounds, striking Haley, which caused her paralysis then death,” investigators said.  The 14-year-old had moved in with her mother about a week before she was shot and killed, Wood said. She previously lived with her grandparents in Macon, according to Channel 2 Action News. Days after Adams’ death, investigators issued a lookout for one of the suspects, William “Billy” Tyree. The 32-year-old with suspected ties to the Ghost Face Gangsters was picked up in Polk County on a probation violation charge, authorities said. Tyree was considered a person of interest in the deadly home invasion at the time of his arrest. On Friday, the sheriff confirmed Tyree is the homeowner’s stepbrother, though it’s unclear exactly what the suspects were looking for when they entered the house. “We haven’t been able to prove what the reason for the home invasion was other than they were looking for him,” Wood said. “We’re still trying to figure out why (they were) targeting this one guy.” MORE: Cops: Ghost Face Gangster questioned in connection with 14-year-old girl’s death Tyree is facing a charge of murder along with four others: Kyle Conley, 36, Justin Ramsey, 20, Spencer Wix, 27, and Aubrie Brown, 26. Like Tyree, they are all members of the Ghost Face Gangsters, Wood said.  Wood praised his investigators for making the arrests, saying detectives interviewed more than 20 people since Adams’ shooting.  The Ghost Face Gangsters is one of the nearly 100 white supremacist prison gangs operating in the U.S., according to the Anti-Defamation League. The group originated in California in the 1970s, but a founding member started the Georgia group in 1998. Additional charges are possible for all five suspects, the sheriff’s office said. Tyree, Conley and Wix are being held without bond in the Coweta County Jail. Ramsey and Brown are in custody in Chattanooga as they await extradition to Georgia to face charges here.  — Please return to AJC.com for updates.  In other news: