A 25-year-old College Park man — who had been in Southern Regional Medical Center since an April 6 courtroom altercation with Clayton County Sheriff’s deputies — has died, state officials have confirmed.
Kevin Gerard Guerrier was taken to Southern Regional earlier this month after he sustained unspecified injuries while deputies were preventing him from allegedly attacking a judge at the Harold R. Banke Justice Center, in Jonesboro. Sheriff’s Office officials confirmed earlier this week that Guerrier ended up in a coma, with brain damage, after the altercation.
Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokesman John Bankhead said Guerrier died sometime on Monday, and the state agency — which is investigating the courthouse incident — received his body for examination by the state’s medical examiner staff at 7 a.m., Tuesday.
“They were expected to conduct an autopsy sometime [Tuesday] afternoon,” Bankhead said. “They had been waiting on some of his medical records before they could begin.”
Bankhead said the autopsy was expected to be completed sometime between late Tuesday afternoon and later in the evening. He declined to comment any further on the status of the GBI’s ongoing investigation into the incident, and said it is unclear how long it is expected to last.
Sheriff’s Office officials said they could not offer many details about the incident because of the ongoing GBI investigation, but they have released a few details that illustrate some of the big-picture points of what happened.
Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. Brian Crisp said Guerrier was in court for a hearing on a case pending against him, when he got upset and charged toward the judge’s bench. “He didn’t like the judge’s ruling, so he tried to rush the judge, and the deputies moved to stop him,” Crisp said. He said he did not know what the ruling was that caused Guerrier to become upset.
The spokesman added that it is not yet clear if a fight broke out between deputies and Guerrier, but he added “the deputies did prevent him from getting to the judge.” Crisp added that a video recording of the altercation exists, but he has not personally seen it. The video is being reviewed as part of the investigation.
The sheriff’s spokesman said he was unsure if the incident took place in Clayton County Magistrate Court, State Court, or Superior Court. Online court records show Guerrier has two cases pending against him in State Court, however. Crisp also declined to identify the judge Guerrier tried to attack, but online court records show that State Court Judge Aaron Mason had been presiding over all cases pending against him.
The cases that had been pending against Guerrier stem from accusations that he has acted violently toward other people on at least two other occasions, according to court documents.
He was accused, in an Oct. 3, 2011, arrest affidavit, of destroying property, and punching holes in the walls of the duplex he lived in, during a fight he had with his live-in girlfriend. The Clayton County Police officer who filled out the affidavit also wrote that Guerrier prevented his girlfriend from calling 911, during their fight, by “snatching the phone from the phone jack.”
He then “proceeded to break said phone by throwing it against the wall,” according to the affidavit. He was arrested and charged at the time with interference with a 911 call, and criminal trespass, according to the affidavit. Online records show additional charges of simple battery, and simple battery family violence were added after a Clayton County Magistrate Court judge bound the case over to the county’s State Court.
The online court records also show he was scheduled to appear on the State Court’s jury trial calendar, for those charges, on the day of the incident that left him in a coma.
Then, on March 2, sheriff’s deputies accused him in another arrest affidavit of attempting to run away from them in a Magistrate Court courtroom, at the justice center. They caught him and put him into handcuffs in the foyer of the courtroom, the court record shows. At that point, the deputies accused him of getting into an altercation with them.
“The offender [Guerrier] pushed away from deputies during the arrest,” Deputy Ulysses A. Bernard wrote in the affidavit. “Lt. [Walter] Smith received minor injuries during the incident.”
Guerrier was charged with simple battery on a police officer, obstruction of a law enforcement officer, and escape, but online court records show Magistrate Judge Daphne Walker bound only the simple battery charge over to State Court. She dismissed the other two charges, according to the online court records.
The Marietta-based New Order National Human Rights Organization has announced it is planning to hold a prayer vigil and press conference concerning Guerrier’s case on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m., at Southern Regional Medical Center, 11 Upper Riverdale Road, in Riverdale.