Armed citizens defended themselves from violent intruders on at least two occasions in Georgia this week, leading to the death of one armed suspect and the arrest of two others.
The first incident took place in LaGrange, Georgia on Wednesday evening, when a homeowner shot and killed a suspect identified by police as 22-year-old Jonathan Daniel.
The investigation by detectives revealed that Daniel and another suspect, Antonio Stephens, tried to rob a man at gunpoint. Police said Daniel pointed his gun at the victim, which is when the victim pulled out a gun and shot Daniel, killing him.
Stephens was arrested on Thursday and charged with felony murder in the death of Daniel, police said.
Less than 24 hours later, police in Statesboro, Georgia responded to reports of a shooting at an apartment complex, where they quickly determined that the shots were fired after a man wearing a mask and two female accomplices forcibly entered an occupied apartment and assaulted at least one of the tenants. The victim was able to draw his firearm and fired, sending the assailants scrambling out the door.
SPD dispatchers called around to local hospitals trying to locate the injured suspect. They identified 21-year-old Zion Cornelius, of Savannah, who was being treated for a non-life-threatening gunshot wound at a hospital in Claxton. His girlfriend, Antania Sanders, of Savannah, had accompanied him.
SPD said that based on evidence gathered from the scene, Flock camera footage and interviews, Cornelius and Sanders were both arrested and charged with first-degree home invasion and aggravated assault.
The suspects were transported to the Bulloch County Jail where they remain pending further judicial action.
It doesn’t appear that the armed citizens are facing any charges in connection with either home invasion, though both incidents remain under investigation.
We don’t have a lot of information on either incident at this point, and there a number of unanswered questions including whether the victims of the home invasions knew their attackers beforehand, or if these were random encounters with violent predators.
The same is true of another violent encounter this week in the state of Connecticut, where police say an “elderly, handicapped person” in Bridgeport shot his attacker, though we have even less information about this case than either of the Georgia incidents.
Akeim Thomas is charged with criminal attempt of first-degree assault of an elderly/disabled person, illegal discharge of a firearm, second-degree threatening, first-degree reckless endangerment, risk of injury to a child, disorderly conduct and second-degree criminal mischief, Bridgeport police Capt. Kevin Gilleran said in a news release.Thomas’ bail was set at $750,000, and he will be arraigned in state Superior Court in Bridgeport at a later date, according to Gilleran.Though details regarding the circumstances of the shooting were not immediately available, Gilleran said there was more than one shooter in the Sunday incident and that a 67-year-old person shot Thomas in self-defense.
Thomas was apparently able to leave the scene of the crime and make his way to a local hospital, where healthcare workers notified police that they were treating a man with a gunshot wound to his abdomen. As of the latest report, Thomas is still hospitalized and under police watch, while the senior citizen and the child who was present during the assault were unharmed.
While there are still a lot of unknown details in each of these incidents, the most important fact is crystal clear: the lawful gun owners in question managed to get through their run-ins with violent attackers without suffering harm themselves, and without the ability to access and use their firearms in self-defense, the outcomes of these encounters could have been very different and far more tragic.