Gunshots ring out near Riverdale

By Ed Brock

For another story concerning a gun incident in Clayton County look at "Family chases armed man" on Page 2.

A shootout occurred near Riverdale just a few miles up the road from where a 4-year-old boy was killed by a stray bullet from another gun battle on Sunday.

The second shootout occurred around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Riverwalk Apartments on Riverdale Road.

A resident of the apartments, John Smith, said he saw two men with guns take up positions next to where he was having a cookout with his son and friends.

Smith and his son moved away into some nearby trees. A short time later a car pulled into the turn lane on Riverdale Road to turn onto a road across the street from the apartments and at least one of the two men Smith had seen began shooting at the car.

Then the people in the car began shooting back.

"The guys that were in the car had something pretty high caliber," Smith said.

The wall of the building near where the two men were standing was pockmarked by bullet holes as was a nearby curb.

One witness who asked that his name not be used said he drove past the dark, old sedan in the turn lane shortly before the shooting began. He heard what he thought was a car backfiring and looked in his rearview mirror to see the people in the car returning fire.

"The guys in the car were just dumping ammunition at the apartment building," Smith said.

In his apartment a few hundred yards deeper into the complex Abbas Bankole and his brother heard the shots.

"It couldn't be less than 15 or 20 (shots)," Bankole said.

Smith said the car drove off and the two men took their guns into the apartment in front of which they had been standing. When Clayton County police responded they entered the apartment, found the guns and arrested at least one of the men, Smith said.

Nobody answered a knock on the door of the apartment where the guns were found. Smith said the people in the apartment had only lived there for a couple of weeks.

The shootout is believed to have emanated from an argument between a boyfriend and girlfriend and was not believed to be connected to the Sunday shootout in which 4-year-old Trevon Wilson was killed, Clayton County police Detective Hank Derbyshire said. Derbyshire did not have the name of the person arrested in connection with the Tuesday shootout.

On Sunday Wilson was walking with his grandmother Glenda Darville in Riverdale Park on Church Street when a gunfight broke out between "multiple suspects" and a stray bullet hit Wilson, Riverdale police Officer Debra Johnson said previously. Between 30 to 50 rounds were fired in that fight and Riverdale and Clayton County detectives are still trying to find suspects, Riverdale interim Police Chief Greg Barney said.

"We're still not sure if it's gang related," Barney said, but Johnson said they were not ruling out that possibility.

When reached by phone Darville said the family did not want to make any more comments on the shooting. Previously Wilson's mother Robin Brassell called for the person responsible for her son's death to come forward.

Anyone with information on the gunfight that led to Wilson's death is asked to call (770) 996-3382 then select option 3 and option 5.

Smith said he had heard about Wilson's death and he was afraid the same thing might happen in his neighborhood.

"We have a lot of little kids around here, so that really ticks me off," Smith said. "Bullets don't have eyes."

The location of Tuesday night's gun battle is across the street from Sun Foods Market where 55-year-old clerk Noorali S. Ali of Grayson was shot and killed during a robbery in April. Police are still looking for a suspect in that killing.

Smith said he'd been living in the apartment complex for nearly 10 years but this was the first time something like this had happened in the part of the complex where he lives.

"It's usually pretty quiet," Smith said.