By Curt Yeomans
A Clayton County Police Department spokesman said an ongoing neighborhood dispute is what led to the shooting death of 17-year-old Darnell Alonzo Fields, on Thursday evening.
Officer Otis Willis, III, said police are now looking for a person of interest, 30-year-old Tyrone Terek Patterson, in connection with the case. There is a possibility that Patterson could be facing charges at some point in the near future, Willis said.
"We are seeking warrants against him," he added.
According to Willis, Fields and his aunt, 32-year-old Cande Hope, got into an argument, allegedly with Patterson, at approximately 6:42 p.m., on Thursday. Fields and Hope were walking on a path in a wooded area off Faith Cove, in College Park, toward a neighborhood pool. Patterson was standing on the edge of the wooded area when the argument began, according to Willis.
"There's been an ongoing dispute in the neighborhood, and words were exchanged between the person of interest, and the victims, and shots were fired," Willis said. Willis would not elaborate on what the ongoing neighborhood dispute is about, citing the continuing investigation into the shooting.
Willis said Fields was fatally struck in the upper body. "The victim, Darnell, was shot in the chest, and he succumbed to his injuries right there at the scene," he said.
Willis also said Hope was shot in the left calf. She was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital, in Atlanta, for treatment, he said.
Willis declined to comment on whether Fields and Hope knew Patterson, or whether there may be additional suspects in the case.
Details about the case are slowly trickling out of the police department. A police report was not yet available, by late Friday. Willis said several details about the crime were being withheld to protect the integrity of the investigation.
"We are still following leads, and things are looking hopeful," he said. "We just want to bring justice for the deceased victim, as well as his mother, and his family, and the community as a whole."
Clayton County Board of Education Member Jessie Goree said Fields was reportedly a rising senior at North Clayton High School. Goree's school board district includes parts of the North Clayton High School attendance zone.
The school board member said she was told the school's principal, James Wilburn, had gone to see Fields' mother, Shaquina Mitchell, on Friday to offer his condolences. Goree said she was planning to call Mitchell, to offer condolences, as well.
Goree called the news of Fields' death "just tragic."
"From what I've heard," she said, "he was an honor student, and he ran track. It's just too much to see a young man, with so much promise, struck down in his prime."
Willis said, anyone who has any information about the shooting, should call Clayton County Police Detective Michael Medious, with the police department's Major Felony Unit, at (678) 610-4743.