By Joe Johnson
Six known street gang members were arrested for various offenses over the past week, according to the Athens-Clarke County Police Department.
All of the arrests were made on two days, Dec. 3 and 9, at the Athens Gardens apartment complex, said ACCPD Public Information Officer Lt. Shaun Barnett.
The arrests were made by members of ACCPD’s Gang Unit, the Northeast Georgia Regional Task Force and the FBI’s Safe Streets Gang Task Force, as part of an initiative to target criminal gang activity.
Barnett would not say with which gang or gangs the suspects were affiliated, citing an ongoing investigation into gang activity in the county.
In conjunction with the arrests four guns and property from several burglaries were seized.
Those who were arrested and their charges are Kendrick Jackson,28, loitering and prowling and carrying a firearm without a license; Markeith Martin, 19, first-degree burglary; Xavier Mitchel, 20, giving a false name and date of birth to law enforcement; Alijah Nelson, 18, wanted for contempt of court in Oglethorpe County; Trayvon Shields, 20, possession of marijuana; and Davion Mitchell, 19, carrying a firearm without a license. He was out on bond from a previous arrest for criminal trespass and carrying a firearm without a license.
When arrested on Thursday, Xavier Mitchell was out of jail on a $25,000 bond from an arrest for gang-related activity in July 2019 at Clarke Gardens apartments, in which 24-year-old Auriel Briana “Thumpa” Callaway, an innocent bystander, was fatally shot while rushing her 3-year-old son to safety when she heard gunfire breaking out. Callaway was four months pregnant with a child, who also died.
Police identified a woman who fired the gun that killed Callaway, and after a September trial, 29-year-old Kiresa Cooper was convicted of murder and feticide and received consecutive life prison sentences.
The police investigation did not end with Cooper’s arrest.
In April of last year, police arrested Xavier Mitchell on warrants charging him with reckless conduct, theft by receiving stolen property, and violating the Georgia Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act, all stemming from the fusillade of bullets fired the night Callaway and her unborn son were killed.
“Eighty-four bullets were fired that night by violent street gang members fueled by the regional drug trade,” ACCPD Chief Cleveland Spruill said earlier this week.
Mitchell’s arrest last year stemmed from a traffic stop an officer conducted on a car as it was entering Athens Gardens, and upon seeing that Mitchell was a passenger, police searched the vehicle and located two handguns, two vacuum-sealed plastic bags of marijuana, a digital scale, and an undisclosed amount of cash.
Mitchell was arrested on the warrants and additionally charged with a second count of criminal gang activity, possession of a firearm during the commission of certain felonies, and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.