Originally created 01/10/01

Officers find link in crimes



Police have linked three of four Monday night home invasions, including one in which a man was shot in the face, according to the Richmond County Sheriff's Department.

The shooting victim, Loron "Ron" Garnett, 25, of the 2900 block of Cumberland Drive, was in good condition Tuesday at the Medical College of Georgia Hospital, Maj. Ken Autry said.

The home invasions began at about 9 p.m. Monday when three black men in black ski masks and jackets burst into the residence of Carolyn Anderson, 36, and Patrick Thompkins, on the 2200 block of Walden Drive, yelling "Police. Search warrant." They then asked for "money and dope," Ms. Anderson told police.

Mr. Thompkins was not at home at the time, and when Ms. Anderson told them she didn't have any money or drugs, they ransacked the house and stole her payroll check and some cash, Maj. Autry said.

One of the men was described as being about 6 feet tall and weighing about 230 pounds. His companions were each described as being between 5 feet 5 and 5 feet 9 inches tall.

About an hour later, three men matching that description kicked in the front door of Mr. Garnett's residence on the 2900 block of Cumberland Drive and demanded drugs and money. When Mr. Garnett and his wife, Natalie, told them they had neither, Mrs. Garnett said the men threatened to shoot her, according to Maj. Autry.

Then, for reasons unknown to police, the intruders and the Garnetts drove to Mr. Garnett's parent's home in the Garnetts' Ford Expedition.

When they arrived at the parents' house on the 1800 block of Thompson Drive at about 10:15 p.m., Mrs. Garnett was held in the SUV by one of the suspects while the other two went in the house with Mr. Garnett.

They demanded money and drugs from Mr. Garnett's parents, Carrie Anderson, 60, and Leroy Anderson, 59, and three other people there playing cards. The men took the people's money and jewelry, Maj. Autry said.

Still demanding drugs and money, the men threatened to shoot Mr. Garnett, and the one holding him shot Mr. Garnett in the side of the face. The bullet traveled down his shoulder and lodged in his upper body. On their way out, they fired another shot in the house, Maj. Autry said.

Outside, they let Mrs. Garnett go and drove away in the Expedition, he said.

At 11:24 p.m., Tavarus Carpenter, 24, was at his residence on the 3000 block of Silverwood Drive watching TV with some other people when he heard a loud knock at the door that sounded as though someone was kicking it. He said he grabbed his gun, when he thought he heard a gunshot outside. He fired two shots out a window, and two people were spotted running from the house.

Mr. Carpenter told police that about Dec. 31 Mr. Garnett, a friend of his, told him he heard a rumor they were going to be "victimized," that their homes would be invaded, but he didn't know when.

Police were investigating that rumor Tuesday and trying to determine how the crimes are connected.

Anyone with information about these crimes should call the Richmond County Sheriff's Department at 821-1080.

Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228.