Athens man accused of shooting at brothers, injuring one in the head


Douglas J. Merritt

By Joe Johnson

The Western Judicial Circuit DA on Thursday formally charged an Athens man for shooting at two brothers four months ago, injuring one of them in the head.

In an accusation filed in Clarke County Superior Court by District Attorney Deborah Gonzalez charged 29-year-old Douglas J. Merritt with two counts each of aggravated assault and possession on a firearm during the commission of a felony.

According to Athens-Clarke County police, officers responded to a report of gunshots being fired in the area of University Oaks apartments shortly after 4 a.m. on March 17.

While at the scene, police said, officers learned that a man had arrived at a local hospital with a gunshot wound to the head.

According to police, investigators subsequently determined that the injured 28-year-old Burkland Drive resident and his younger brother had been involved in an argument with Merritt in a parking lot at University Oaks.

“Both victims started to leave in a vehicle and as they drove away, Merritt fired into the vehicle,” shooting the older brother in the head, according to police Public Information Officer Lt. Shaun Barnett, who said the younger man immediately drove his injured brother to the hospital.

Both men identified Merritt as the shooter, and he was arrested at a University Oaks. He has been incarcerated without bond ever since at the Clarke County Jail.

Merritt is scheduled to be arraigned on Aug. 30.