By Joe Johnson
More than two dozen bullets reportedly were fired during a Saturday afternoon gang-related shootout between occupants of two vehicles as they drove through traffic.
According to an Athens-Clarke County police report, officers responded at about 3:37 p.m. to a reported shooting in the area of Commerce Road and the Athens Perimeter, where they met with 28-year-old Dwight Donterrius Brown who explained that he had been in his car in the Creekstone neighborhood when the driver of maroon Nissan Versa fired a gun at him, but missed and struck the pillar between the windshield and driver's door.
Brown said that as he pursued the other car towards the neighborhood's exit to Commerce Road, he fired about three rounds from his pistol through his windshield at the other car, according to the police report, and as he continued to chase the car south on Commerce Road a passenger in the car began shooting at Brown, who the report indicated continued to return fire through his windshield.
Brown said he followed the other car to the perimeter’s entrance ramp, where he indicated he fired most of the shots from his Glock 27 semiautomatic pistol, according to the report, which noted that at the ramp the Nissan swerved around stopped traffic while Brown continued to shoot at it.
“Brown stated that at one point during the pursuit his firearm jammed and he had to clear the jam to continue firing,” according to the report. “Brown further stated that his vehicle was failing to gain speed (and that) if he was in another (better functioning) vehicle ‘someone would be dead.’”
According to the report, Brown had been involved in several shootings in the past that are believed to be gang-related, including a homicide that was deemed justified and “Brown stated that as a result of this past homicide, ‘people’ have been attempting to kill him.”
He described the occupants of the Nissan as black males who wore blue ski masks and said members of the NBA (Never Broke Again) and Gangster Disciples gangs had tried to kill him in the past, and assumed that Saturday’s shootout was not a random incident and that he is still a target for the two gangs, according to the police report.
The report noted that officers recovered from Brown’s car 29 spent cartridge shell casings, along with a 50-round drum magazine for the pistol and an eight-round magazine.
“Brown’s actions of pursuing the Nissan Versa and continuing to fire his weapon after the Versa disengaged were reckless and unjustified in nature due to the circumstances,” an officer wrote in the report. “The pursuit and shooting were engaged in a very high traffic area of Athens, with multiple vehicles and possibly pedestrians being around the area of fire, causing the shooting to be an active threat to life and property other than the intended targets.”
Police arrested Brown for aggravated assault, but on Sunday Magistrate Court Judge Benjamin Makin reduced the charge to reckless conduct and Brown was subsequently released on a $1,000 bond.
On April 6 charges stemming from Brown allegedly shooting another man in September 2019 at the Clarke Gardens apartment complex were dismissed.
In a motion to dismiss charges of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, Western Judicial Circuit District Attorney Deborah Gonzalez stated that even though there had been probable cause to arrest Brown, “after reviewing the evidence the State does not believe there is sufficient evidence to prove Defendant’s guilt as to the charges beyond a reasonable doubt were the case to proceed to trial.”