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Athens shooting victim was innocent bystander

Shooting suspect Tishauwn Taquan Mahaffey

By Joe Johnson

An Athens woman who was shot and seriously injured Tuesday afternoon at Berlin Street Apartments apparently was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Whitley Smith “was going to visiting a friend in the neighborhood," said the 28-year-old Athens woman’s mother, Daphney Smith.

“She had just got out a car, and was shot in crossfire of someone fighting. This could have happened to anyone,” Smith said.

Capt. Christopher Nichols, commanding officer of the Athens-Clarke County police Criminal Investigation Division confirmed it appeared that the shooting victim was an innocent bystander.

 “We have nothing to indicate Ms. Whitley was in any way involved in the altercation,” he said. “It appears she was struck by gunfire while observing the fight.” 

The incident occurred at about 3:23 p.m. at the apartment complex located off Fourth Street in east Athens.

Police said officers initially responded to an unknown problem there.

Upon arrival, officers found blood, a spent shell casing and other evidence that a shooting had taken place, but did not locate anyone who had been shot. A blood trail ended in the parking space in front of apartment No. 5.

According to police, officers located a cellphone and pill bottle th some bushes next to the blood and a woman's wig that was found in between apartments 2 and 5.

Whitley Smith subsequently arrived at a local hospital with a serious, but non-life- threatening, gunshot wound, and detectives were able to link the injury to the incident on Berlin Street, according to police.

Investigation of the incident led to the issuance of an aggravated assault warrant against Tishauwn Taquan Mahaffey, 30, of Athens.

Mahaffey was previously identified by police as being a member of the NBA (Never Broke Again) street gang.

It could not be immediately learned from police whether the person with whom Mahaffey was fighting fired a gun in the altercation or faced criminal charges. Police identified him on the day of the incident, but have not released his identity.

"The case remains under investigation," Nichols said Thursday afternoon.

Anyone with information concerning the incident or the whereabouts of Mahaffey is encouraged by police to contact Detective Paul Johnson at 762-400-7060 or

Anonymous calls can be made to the Crime Stoppers confidential tip line at 706-705-4775. 

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