By Joe Johnson
Two more arrests have been made in the investigation of events surrounding the fatal shooting of a pregnant woman last summer at her eastside apartment complex.
The victim, 24-year-old Auriel Briana “Thumpa” Callaway was with her 3-year-old son outside their home at the Clarke Gardens apartment complex the night of July 22 when, Athens-Clarke County police said, gunshots rang out from a fight nearby in the complex and Callaway was killed by a bullet as she tried to rush her son to safety.
Callaway was four months pregnant with a child who also died, police said.
Two of the aggravated assault charges were from Cooper allegedly firing her gun in the direction of two other females, according to the indictment.
Cooper’s sister, Kadrica Yearby told Classic City News that in conversations at the jail, Cooper admitted to firing a gun in the air in an attempt to break up fighting. She said she could not understand how the bullet that killed Callaway could be linked to her sister’s gun when there were dozens of spent bullet casings at the scene.
The death of the well-liked young woman galvanized members of Athens’ black community into taking action to reduce gun violence in their communities through such initiatives as youth mentoring, conflict resolution and a gun buy-back program.
The police investigation did not end with Cooper’s arrest.
On Thursday, police arrested 26-year-old Martin Court resident Tre Almonte Foster on warrants charging him with reckless conduct, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a controlled substance, and violating the state Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act.
Last month, on Feb. 26, 20-year-old Jerimirra Sheats was also arrested on warrants issued as part of the Callaway shooting death investigation.
The warrants charged the Summerbrook Circle resident with possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, possession of drugs near public housing, theft by possession of stolen property, possession of a firearm during the commission of certain felonies, and two counts of violating the criminal street gang act.
Warrants on similar charges were issued for three other suspects who have yet to be arrested.
The case is still being actively investigated, said Capt. Christopher Nichols, commanding officer of the Athens-Clarke County police Criminal Investigations Division. “Additional charges have resulted from other people’s actions that night, even though they may not have been the person that fired the deadly shot.”
Nichols added, “By charging these additional persons, the police department reaffirms its stance that we will not tolerate unlawful gun possession and usage or gang violence.”