By Joe Johnson
With two more arrests this week, the Athens-Clarke County Police Department has continued a crackdown on local criminal street gang activity that became a priority last year.
According to police, on Thursday they arrested a known gang member who was allegedly involved in a shootout over two months ago at the Nellie B Homes apartment complex in east Athens.
The suspect, identified as 20-year-old Raekwon Jennings of Forest Acres Circle, was charged in warrants with aggravated assault, reckless conduct, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, and violating the state Street Gang Terrorism Prevention Act, police said.
According to a police incident report, the shootout occurred the night of Nov. 3 near the corner of Cone Drive and Zebulon Avenue at Nellie B Homes, where officers collected over a dozen spent cartridge cases from the roadways.
A witness reportedly told police that the gunfight happened when a car drove slowly into the intersection, and a surveillance camera took images of a man wearing a blue hoodie shoot seven rounds at the car as it entered the intersection.
When the occupants of the car returned fire, the man fled behind a building and fired six more shots at the vehicle, according to the police report.
Police said the incident happened two days 21-year-old Demetrius Pope was shot to death outside his home on Martin Circle, not far from Nellie B Homes. They did not indicate whether they believed the incidents were related.
The other known gang member arrested on Thursday was identified by police as 18-year-old Lance Jonathan Blockum of Spring Valley Road.
He was charged in warrants with carrying a pistol without a license, obstruction of law enforcement, and loitering and prowling.
Due to the ongoing anti-gang campaign, police said they were not releasing any of the suspects’ affiliations.
Blockum and Jennings were both being detained at the county jail as of Friday afternoon without bail being set.
Over the past several weeks, ACCPD has made 21 arrests of known gang members or associates. In addition to the arrests, officers have seized 13 guns, as well as drugs and stolen property.
"ACCPD is committed to protecting the community and will continue to focus our efforts on violent criminal street gangs," the department said in a released statement.
Anyone with information about criminal street gang activity is asked to use ACCPD’s Crime Tip Line at 706-705-4775, email the Gang Unit at email@example.com, or contact our Gang Unit through its anonymous online tip website: https://www.accgov.com/FormCenter/Police-27/Criminal-Gang-Activity Tips-759.