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Suspect died from gunshot wound, not crash

A home invasion suspect found dead inside a crashed truck died from a gunshot wound and not from the accident, said Clayton County police.

Kenneth Fortson, 21, was one of four men suspected in an Oct. 3 home invasion at Pinebrook Apartments. Police said the four fled the scene in a red pickup truck, which was found crashed in front of Riverdale High School.

Forston was found dead inside the truck. The other three suspects were caught in nearby woods.

Clayton Police Officer Eddie Soto said Monday that Fortson died from an accidental, self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

"He was found with a gun in his hand," said Soto. "It looks like it went off when the truck flipped. It has been determined to be an accidental shooting and no one will be charged."

Police said Fortson and three other armed men forced their way into the apartment Monday, Oct. 3, at about 3:40 a.m., and demanded money and a Wii gaming system. Soto said police first thought there were five suspects involved, but have determined there were four, including Fortson.

Lt. Tina Daniel said the driver of the getaway car, Denico Deangelo Hawkins, 34, of Atlanta, is charged with armed robbery and burglary. Ramon Gartez Blalock, 18, of Hapeville, is charged with armed robbery, burglary and possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime. Quinton Lamont Oliver, 32, of Atlanta, is charged with possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime, obstruction of an officer and giving false information to a police officer.

Clayton County Police K-9 Officer Travis J. Fox wrecked his patrol car in a separate crash on his way to the scene of the home invasion. Fox and his K-9 partner, Lakota, were hurt in the one-car crash about three miles from the suspects' accident. Lakota is being treated for serious leg injuries.

When Clayton County commissioners met in regular session Oct. 4, the board voted to retire Lakota, a German shepherd. Commissioners agreed to transfer ownership to Fox, who would assume the K-9's medical bills relating to the crash, under the county resolution.

However, Clayton Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell said he will re-visit the issue, possibly at tonight's board meeting, to take the financial burden off Fox and put it back on the county.