Clayton gangs shooting at each other again

By Ed Brock

Two Clayton County gangs that have been connected to a shootout that left a 4-year-old Riverdale boy dead in June have been connected to two more shooting incidents that occurred Saturday.

One of the shootings led to the injury of two men.

Around 12:01 a.m. Saturday a shooting occurred at a home on Washington Drive near Jonesboro when 15 carloads of members of the "Southside Mafia" came to a party looking for a fight, according to a Clayton County police report. Around 11:49 p.m. Saturday a group of young men approached two other men, asked if they were members of the Southside Mafia, then identified themselves as being in the "Hit Squad" before firing at the two men.

Both gangs were mentioned as the participants in the June 6 shootout at Riverdale Park in which a stray bullet killed 4-year-old Trevon Wilson while the boy was riding his bicycle with his grandmother nearby.

In the first shooting, the resident of the Washington Drive house, Anthony Parker, told police that he was having a small party at his house when he noticed a group of people hanging around in front of the house. He asked them to leave and they did.

Shortly after that one of the victims in the shooting, 19-year-old Darien Tilmon, received a phone call warning him that the Southside Mafia was coming over. Parker told everybody to come inside, at which point about 15 cars pulled up and parked nearby. The residents, whom Parker said were Southside Mafia, got out and were trying to start a fight when one of them began shooting at the house, injuring Tilmon and 18-year-old Charles Shepard, both of Hampton.

Tilmon and Shepard were taken to Southern Regional Medical Center in Riverdale.

In the second incident Terrell Hamilton and Marcus Walker, both 20 years old and both from Riverdale, told police that they had just left an event at the Tara Center on Tara Boulevard near Jonesboro and were talking to some girls at the Racetrac gas station near the center. A group of men approached them and asked if they were in the Southside Mafia, to which Hamilton and Walker said they were too old.

One man in the group, a black male with short "dreadlocks" wearing a white jersey with "Pimp Park" written on it, pulled out a gun and began shooting at them. Neither man was hit.

The group, including the shooter, then got into a white Ford Crown Victoria and drove away.

Another witness also told police he heard gunshots and looked outside to see a man leaning out of the window of a red Toyota Camry firing an AK-47 assault rifle.

Police have had a lot of trouble before at the gas station and the Tara Center, Clayton County Police Capt. Jeff Turner said.

"The problem stems from after an event (at the Tara Center) is over. A lot of the teens like to stand around and loiter and cause problems," Turner said, adding that the crowd often spills over to the Racetrac. "Once we see that there's a spill over or a lot of kids hanging out we try to patrol the area more."

But even with police presence, Turner said, incidents occur. The department is asking the owner of the Tara Center to provide better security.

A multi-agency task force has been investigating the Wilson case and so far at least five people have been arrested.