Originally created 01/17/04

Teenage shooting victim is jailed



The victim of an alleged drive-by shooting was jailed after authorities found that he and others were involved in suspected gang activity - and that he was shot by a member of his own gang, officials said Friday.

Mario L. Lawrence, 18, was charged with aggravated assault and three felony weapons charges, said Richmond County sheriff's Sgt. Scott Peebles, an investigator in the department's criminal investigation division.

Mr. Lawrence, 18-year-old Joseph Antonio Herrington, Donzelle Williams and two juveniles were all charged in an incident that police say might be the result of two rival gangs fighting, Sgt. Peebles said.

According to a police report, Mr. Williams initially told deputies that, at about 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Mr. Lawrence was shot in the shoulder by someone in a passing car in front of Mr. Williams' Mack Lane home in Hephzibah.

An investigation showed that this wasn't true, Sgt. Peebles said.

"This has been an ongoing dispute between these two 'neighborhood associations,' as they like to call themselves," Sgt. Peebles said.

He gave the following account of what authorities have found:

A conflict started on Spirit Creek Road when a group of youths suspected of being members of a gang known as Southern Killa Boys, went to an area another gang is known to frequent.

Mr. Herrington and the other youths went to confront suspected members of Fairington Gangsta Thugs. After an argument, Mr. Herrington and the others fired several rounds that did not hit anyone.

After Mr. Herrington's group left, Mr. Lawrence, his 15-year-old brother, and Mr. Williams, suspected of being members of the Fairington gang, left Spirit Creek Road.

The three went to Mr. Herrington's home. Mr. Williams and Mr. Lawrence opened fire on Mr. Herrington and his group, using handguns.

During the shooting, Mr. Williams accidentally shot Mr. Lawrence in the shoulder. Alleged members of Southern Killa Boys were unhurt during the incident.

Sgt. Peebles said more arrests in the case are likely.

Mr. Herrington was charged with furnishing a pistol or firearm to a minor, a felony under Georgia law, and with reckless conduct, jail records show.

Sgt. Peebles said Mr. Williams was charged with aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. The 15-year-old boy was charged as a juvenile with the same charges, but his identity is not being released by authorities because of his age.

The other juvenile, whose age has not been given, was charged with possession of a handgun by a minor, Sgt. Peebles said.

Reach Jeremy Craig at (706) 823-3409 or jeremy.craig@augustachronicle.com.