Originally created 07/11/00

Officers probe shooting of teen



Richmond County Sheriff's investigators say they hope further interviews with a teen-ager found shot through the abdomen early Monday will make sense of the possible drive-by not far from T.W. Josey High School.

Latoya Kelley, 15, was listed in fair condition at Medical College of Georgia Hospital on Monday afternoon. She was struck by a small-caliber bullet that entered below her stomach and exited through her buttocks area, police said.

The girl was bleeding when she arrived at a friend's house on Luckey Street at about 12:30 a.m., Maj. Ken Autry said. Latoya told police she had been walking along the 1700 block of Luckey when a car passed and she heard gunshots.

Shakelia Roney, 19, said she had asked Latoya, who lives nearby on Essie McIntyre Boulevard, to come to her apartment on Luckey Street to baby-sit her son. Ms. Roney said shesaw Latoya emerge from the darkness, then fall on the curb outside her apartment, clutching her stomach.

Ms. Roney speculated her friend was caught by random gunfire. She said she doesn't know of anyone who would want to kill the former Josey student, because "she's too sweet for that."

"You know bullets haven't got no names on them," Ms. Roney said. "No one knows for sure what happened but her."

The girl's mother told investigators her daughter had been stabbed before.

Neighbors told investigators they saw the victim emerge from a nook between two vacant houses, a spot Maj. Autry said is notorious for drug activity. The witnesses did not report hearing gunshots, he said, and many of the houses closest to the incident are abandoned.

Reach Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225 or jedwards92@hotmail.com.