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Arrest made in Bethel Midtown Village drive-by shooting

Phillip Alan Turman

By Joe Johnson

An Athens man this week was arrested for a drive-by shooting three months ago at an Athens apartment complex.

Phillip Alan Turman, 21, of Wood Lake Drive was booked into the county jail Sunday night after being taken into custody on an aggravated assault warrant.

According to an Athens-Clarke County police report, Turman was involved in a drive-by shooting that occurred the night of Feb. 23 at Bethel Midtown Village.

Officers responded to reports of multiple shots being fired near the complex’s playground area.  A witness told police she saw several young males dressed in black running from the area, according to the report.

Earlier in the evening, police received a report of a group of males with long guns standing in an apartment building’s breezeway, according to the police report, but when officers investigated, they located a group of young men standing between buildings, but “no firearms were seen.”

While investigating, officers learned the shots had come from a vehicle on Strong Street, which is outside the front of the gated complex.

A witness observed the car from which the gunshots were fired into the complex, and gave a description of a black Hondas sedan that was occupied by at least two people. Officers recovered bullet shell casings from Strong Street, according to the report.

Police said they were unable to locate the vehicle even though one witness followed it to a gas station on Commerce Road and took note of its tag number, which was registered to a BMW, not a Honda.

“Upon review of video footage from area businesses, the police department was able to identify the vehicle as a black Honda Accord belonging to Phillip Turman,” said Capt. Christopher Nichols, commanding officer of the Criminal Investigations Division.

“Eyewitness accounts, subsequent follow-up interviews, and other investigative methods placed Phillip Turman and his vehicle at Bethel Midtown Village at the same time as the shooting” and an aggravated assault warrant was subsequently taken out on Turman, Nichols said.

The police official said investigators were still trying to identify other occupants in Turman’s Honda, and asked that anyone with information concerning this case to contact Detective Paul Johnson at (762) 400-7060.

Anonymous calls can be made to the Crime Stoppers confidential Tip Line at (706) 705-4775.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Turman was being detained at the jail in lieu of a $4,000 good security bond.

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