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The GBI has obtained an arrest warrant for Felony Murder for Oscar James Bethune, Jr., age 19, of Union Point, GA. Bethune is wanted in connection with the murder of Thomas Griffin in Greensboro, GA on Wednesday, June 2.
On Wednesday, June 2, 2021, at approximately 12:00 p.m., the GBI was requested by the Greensboro Police Department to assist with a death investigation. At approximately 11:51 a.m., the Greene County Sheriff’s Office 911 Center received a 911 call regarding a male who had been shot on Chapel Street in Greensboro, GA. Greensboro police officers and Greene County deputies responded to the area and upon arrival, they discovered Thomas Griffin, age 56, of Union Point, GA deceased from what appeared to be multiple gunshot wounds.
Talbotton, GA (June 3, 2021) – The GBI and Talbot County Sheriff’s Office have arrested Melissa Thompson, 50, of Atlanta, GA, on one count of felony theft by deception, one count of theft by taking, one count of exploitation and intimidation of elder persons, five counts of identity fraud, and five counts of financial transaction card fraud.
Ball Ground, GA (June 2, 2021) – On Tuesday, June 1, 2021, Frederick Austin Homonek, age 33, was arrested and charged with four counts of Sexual Exploitation of Children (Possession of Child Pornography) by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes (CEACC) Unit. The GBI CEACC Unit began an investigation into Homonek’s online activity after receiving a Cybertip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) regarding the online possession and distribution of images depicting child pornography. This investigation led to a search warrant at Homonek’s home and to the subsequent arrest of Homonek.
Homonek was booked into the Pickens County Jail upon his arrest.
Ray City, GA (June 2, 2021) – On Tuesday, June 1, 2021, the GBI received a request from the Ray City Police Department to conduct an officer involved shooting investigation.
Preliminary information indicates that on June 1, 2020, at approximately 6:45 p.m., two officers with the Ray City Police Department responded to the 100 block of Pauline Avenue to conduct a wellness check. Once on scene, the officers met a man with a knife, who has been identified as Donald Myers, age 48. Myers approached the officers with the knife, and the officers shot Myers. Officers administered first aid until EMS arrived. Myers was transported to the South Georgia Medical Center, Valdosta campus, where he died. Myers’ body will be taken to the GBI Medical Examiner’s Office for autopsy.
Moultrie, GA (May 27, 2021) – On Thursday, May 20, 2021, Chadwick Demetrix Pittman, age 30, of a Blossom Court address in Moultrie was arrested and charged with ten counts of Exploitation of a Disabled Adult.
The GBI Region 9 Field Office, the GBI Human Exploitation and Trafficking (HEAT) Unit, the Moultrie Police Department, and the Colquitt County Sheriff’s Office executed search warrants at multiple addresses in Moultrie, Georgia the previous day, May 19, 2021. With the assistance of personnel from the Temporary Emergency Respite Funds (TERF), Georgia Pines, Benchmark, Colquitt County EMS, and the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health, ten disabled adults were removed from these addresses and placed in locations where they could get the appropriate level of care they needed.
The GBI was originally requested to assist with an investigation on November 12, 2020, by the Moultrie Police Department regarding an elder abuse case of an individual who resided at 1212 7th Avenue Southwest in Moultrie, Georgia. During the investigation, it was also determined that the residence of 1212 7th Avenue SW, along with residences located at 2916 Sylvester Drive, and 3445 Sylvester Drive in Moultrie were also being operated by Chadwick Demetrix Pittman, as unlicensed personal care homes. The case remains active and is ongoing.
UPDATE: On Friday, May 21, 2021, Justin Ray Green, age 39, was arrested by the Bartow-Cartersville Drug Task Force without incident. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was previously requested to investigate an officer involved shooting involving Green that occurred on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. Neither officers nor Green were injured in the original incident or subsequent arrest.
The GBI is investigating an officer involved shooting at the request of the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office.
Preliminary information indicates that on Tuesday, May 18, 2021, at approximately 8:50 p.m., deputies were called to 137 Mountain View Rd SE Acworth, GA, about locating Justin Ray Green, 39, who was living in an outside building on the property.
Green was reportedly intoxicated and discharging a firearm at the time of the 911 call. When deputies arrived, they saw Green in the backyard of the property. Green fired multiple shots at deputies and ran into the wooded area behind the residence. Both Green and deputies exchanged gunfire during the incident. A perimeter was established, but Green was not located by deputies.
Covington, GA (May 24, 2021) – On Thursday, May 20, 2021, Newton County resident, Cesar Valenzuela, age 19, was arrested by the GBI’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes (CEACC) Unit and charged with two counts of Sexual Exploitation of Children, including the possession of child pornography.
Athens, GA (May 24, 2021) – On Sunday, May 23, 2021, at approximately 11:04 a.m., the GBI was requested by the Athens-Clarke County Police Department (ACCPD) to investigate an officer involved shooting.
Preliminary information indicates that at approximately 10:40 a.m., ACCPD officers responded to multiple 911 calls about a man with a gun at Walker Park (200 Trail Creek Street in Athens). Responding ACCPD officers were advised that a man, later identified as Juan Joseph Daniele Castellano, age 38, of Athens, had carjacked a person at gunpoint inside Walker Park. Officers located the stolen vehicle. Castellano got out of the vehicle with a long gun and began shouting demands at officers. Officers gave numerous commands to surrender. Castellano refused to comply. During the incident, shots were fired. Castellano was shot and died on scene.
Adel, GA (May 22, 2021) – On Saturday, May 22, 2021, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation received a request from the Adel Police Department to investigate an officer involved shooting.
Preliminary information indicates that at approximately 2:15 a.m., two officers with the Adel Police Department responded to the 700 block of Tony Street about a stolen car. The officers observed a man, later identified as Steve Newsome, age 31, of Adel, in the passenger seat of the car. As Newsome got out of the car, there was an exchange of gunfire. One of the officers was struck multiple times and taken to the South Georgia Medical Center. She is currently in stable condition. Newsome was also struck multiple times but was able to run a short distance. Officers caught up with Newsome and administered CPR until EMS/Fire arrived, but Newsome died on scene.
(Albany - May 21, 2021) – The GBI is investigating an officer involved shooting at the request of the Albany Police Department (APD) .
The preliminary information indicates that at around 12:11 a.m., APD officers initially responded to 420 West Mercer Avenue, Albany, GA about an aggravated assault. A male victim was shot and taken to the hospital by EMS. The male suspect in the aggravated assault, later identified as Kortnee Lashon Warren, age 23, of Virginia, was not on scene. While officers were investigating the incident, Warren appears on scene with a gun in hand. APD officers gave verbal commands for Warren to drop the gun. During the incident, Warren pointed the gun at officers and fired shots at them. APD officers returned fire, shooting and striking Warren. Warren was taken to a hospital where he later died.
The male victim is being transported to a hospital in Macon due to his injuries.
No officers were injured in the incident.
The GBI will continue to conduct an independent investigation. Once the investigation is complete, it will be submitted to the Dougherty County District Attorney’s Office for review.