0

McDonough police probing teen-club vandalism

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

The owner of McDonough's 4Citys Teen Club says she has shut down her business, because she is convinced it is unsafe for her clientele to return.

The Saturday-only club, at 294 Racetrack Road, began serving as a gathering spot for high-schoolers in April. However, after just six weeks, Illisa Morris closed its doors last weekend, in light of recent vandalism at the facility.

Police are searching for leads to determine who might have wanted to damage the club's property. "I don't see any reports where there have been fights or disturbances, showing that there's a problem," said McDonough Police Detective Mark Fellows. "Obviously, there's some type of something going on, which we're investigating."

Morris found racial slurs on the building, and police found a gas can, with unlit Molotov cocktails nearby. Morris said she has no plans to reopen until police catch whoever is responsible for the vandalism.

"Whoever it is, they have scared me out of my wits, now," Morris said. "I can't have parties here and put kids, myself, and my staff in danger," she said. "You just don't know who's doing it, and what they would do again. It's better for me to lose my business than to have some type of tragedy happen."

Prior to its closing, the club provided games and other activities for a capacity of 299 teens. Morris estimated that she will lose approximately $2,500 per week, as a result of closing the facility.

McDonough Police said several racial slurs have been spray-painted on the building, on separate occasions, in recent weeks. McDonough Police Detective Mark Fellows said the first incident was discovered on May 4, by Officer Shelby Holmes.

"There was graffiti ... spray-painted on the back driveway, and on the roof," he said.

The graffiti, according to Fellows, contained the letters "KKK," and racial slurs on the roof of the club, and on the back parking lot of the business.

Fellows said that the club was disturbed a second time. "Someone threw several eggs that hit the back side of the building," he said. "Officer Holmes drove by and noticed the eggs on the back side of the wall."

The club was reportedly vandalized yet again, between May 8 and May 10. Fellows said there were more racial slurs on the building, and some highly flammable materials were discovered. "There was a gas can with some Molotov cocktails that had been prepared, found at the back side of the building," he said. "But, they had not been lighted, or thrown at the building."

Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to call Detective Fellows, at (770) 957-1237, ext. 111.