Updated: Jan 27, 2022
By Joe Johnson
A shooting in downtown Athens four months ago in which eight people were injured turned out to be a gang-related shooting and not a lone gunman as authorities originally believed.
“After investigation, detectives determined that two rival gangs had a dispute at a downtown intersection,” said Geof Gilland, public information specialist for the Athens-Clarke County Police Department.
“These two rival gangs, based in Washington-Wilkes, began fighting in the intersection,” he said. “At one point, (a gang member) began to fire a weapon, and eight individuals were injured by gunfire, some by ricochets.”
According to Gilland all four suspects were charged because they were party to the crime, meaning they arrived at the incident together and subsequently left the incident together.” After investigation, detectives determined that two rival gangs had a dispute at a downtown intersection.
The incident coincided with throngs of people who were visiting bars and restaurants downtown as they celebrated the University of Georgia’s football team defeating Clemson University late the night before.
Police said the victims ranged in age from 19 to 29, and none attended UGA.
On Tuesday in Clarke County Superior Court, four members of the Blood Trey Nine street gang were charged in a 17-count indictment for shooting at members of the rival Roadrunners gang, which is associated with the Gangster Disciples.
The Blood Trey Nine members were identified in the indictment as Pharoah Devonnell Williams, 21; Jaccorian Tyrik Hall, 22; Kwontravis Grant, 20; and Damarcas Termaine Grant.
They were each charged with multiple counts of violation of the Georgia Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act; aggravated assault; possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony; and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, according to the indictment.
All of the codefendants were charged in a direct indictment for which bench warrants were issued, except for Williams, who was arrested as the apparent lone gunman soon after the shooting early the morning of Sept. 5 at the corner of East Clayton and North Jackson streets.
Williams, a resident of Washington, in December was accused in court of seven counts of aggravated assault and one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
He has been in custody since surrendering in Wilkes County the day after the incident.
The case had originally been in the hands of Deborah Gonzalez, DA for Athens-Clarke and Oconee counties in the Western Judicial Circuit, but state Attorney General Chris Carr re-assigned the case to Augusta Judicial Circuit DA Jared T. Williams because of a conflict of interest -- a family member of one of Gonzalez's employees reportedly was among the victims of the shooting.