By Joe Johnson
A home in a westside Athens neighborhood occupied by several children this week reportedly was targeted by a drive-by shooting.
Neither the children, who ranged in age from 3 to 9, was injured, nor were two adult occupants.
A motive had yet to be determined as of Friday.
"It’s early in the investigation and detectives are working to determine a motive and whether the incident was gang-related," said Lt. Shaun Barnett, public information officer for the Athens-Clarke County Police Department.
According to a police incident report, officers responded at about 10:40 p.m. Tuesday to investigate 911 calls concerning a shooting in progress on Ramble Hills Way and that a white sedan with tinted windows was leaving the scene.
Upon arrival, officers met with a 29-year-old resident of a home on that street who said that just prior to the shooting he looked out and saw a white Jeep Liberty driving very slowly down the street, according to the report,
He ran into the home when the shooting began, the report noted, at which time he saw his mother crawling on the floor to check on the welfare of his siblings who were in a bedroom closest to where the shooting took place.
The man said he did not know who might have targeted the residence, “but it’s possible someone wants to shoot him, an officer wrote in the incident report, adding that “he did not elaborate as to why someone would target him, nut he does have a history. He informed me that this sort of thing had happened before.”
While investigating, officers recovered about 25 spent cartridge casings for rifles with two different calibers, all grouped on the edge and off of the roadway, according to the report. A bullet hole was found above the window of the room where the children had been sleeping, and an additional impact site was located in the brick walls outside of the home and an unspent bullet was recovered from the street, the police report noted.
When an officer reviewed video surveillance footage from a Ring camera at the front door of the home, he saw the male occupant opening the door and looking outside just prior to the incident.
The Jeep Liberty could be seen circling the neighborhood before it stopped and at least two occupants exited the vehicle and opened fire on the home, while the driver remained in the vehicle, the police report noted, and when the shooting stopped, the Jeep sped off toward Tallassee Road.
A police supervisor tried to get the adult male resident to elaborate about the previous shooting incident in which he’d been involved, and he explained that it happened a few months earlier when a duplex it stopped and next to his on Lake Place was shot up with rifle ammo that he believed had been intended for him, according to the police report.