Originally created 04/22/00

Police search nets suspect's surrender



A 21-year-old Martinez resident who police say shot a man in the leg surrendered to authorities Friday afternoon.

Columbia County Sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris said Terry Ronald Avery turned himself in at the Columbia County Detention Center in Appling just before 7 p.m.

"He just walked up and turned himself in," Capt. Morris said.

The surrender followed a search of more than three hours by police of a wooded area off Avery Avenue for a suspect in the shooting of 39-year-old Tom Jennings. Mr. Jennings was shot in the leg and transported to Medical College of Georgia Hospital. He was listed in fair condition late Friday.

Capt. Morris said Mr. Avery would be charged with aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. His bond had not been set Friday night.

Capt. Morris said the shooting happened at about 3:24 p.m. at Mr. Jennings' home after the two men got into an argument. Mr. Avery then returned to his vehicle to leave and fired one gun shot at Mr. Jennings as he drove away, striking him in the leg, Capt. Morris said.

"We're still unclear as to the subject of the argument," Capt. Morris said.

At the scene of the search, which involved police and a canine unit, a cul-de-sac area of Avery Avenue was blocked off as several residents looked on.

"There's never been any real violence that I've known of around here," John Lifsey Sr., who lives on nearby Westmont Drive, said. "You'd never expect a shooting."

Shawn Morris, a resident of Avery Landing subdivision, agreed.

"By and large, it's usually a pretty peaceful neighborhood," he said. "Everybody knows everybody."

Capt. Morris said he was unsure if Mr. Avery had a gun with him when he surrendered. He said investigators would interview him Friday night to help determine a motive.

Reach Preston Sparks at (706) 868-1222,Ext. 110, or preston.sparks@groupz.net