Hephzibah teen dies in shooting

Two Hephzibah teenagers were arrested Thursday after one fatally shot his 13-year-old friend while handling a firearm, police say.

Raekwon Rhodes, of the 2400 block of Hampshire Crossing, was passing a loaded handgun back to one of the suspects when it fired, striking him in the neck, according to Richmond County Sheriff's Sgt. Blaise Dresser. The victim ran to a neighbor's home with the two suspects -- 16-year-old and 13-year-old brothers -- to use the phone, Sgt. Dresser said. He died shortly after 3 p.m.

Police are investigating whether the gun was stolen by the youths, who authorities have charged with burglary in a home break-in on Carpenter Avenue earlier this month.

Authorities aren't releasing the suspects' names because of their ages, but they said the 13-year-old had been taken to the Richmond County Youth Detention Center and faced involuntary manslaughter, burglary and stolen firearm charges. His brother was released to his parents after being charged with burglary, Sgt. Dresser said.

Police have also arrested Martavias Marquis Nelson, 18, of the 4300 block of Saxon Drive, on a charge of theft by receiving a stolen firearm, jail committals show. The three teens ran to Mr. Nelson's home after the shooting, and police found a stolen firearm in his home.

Sheriff's Lt. Scott Peebles said the victim wasn't involved in the break-ins. His body has been transported to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's Crime Lab in Atlanta for an autopsy.

Reach Adam Folk at (706) 823-3339 or adam.folk@augustachronicle.com.