Gang arrests made in school brawl

Kendrick Brinson/Staff
A handcuffed teen is escorted to a patrol car by deputies at the Academy of Richmond County. He was one of five students charged with gang activity.

Five students were led away in handcuffs from the Academy of Richmond County on Monday, charged with gang activity during an April 3 disturbance involving hundreds of students.

Investigators from the sheriff's gang task force said they think a rivalry between the Harrisburg Posse and the Wrightsboro Road and Belair Road-based Zone 4 gang sparked a fight after an assembly in the auditorium.

Joseph Keith Norfleat, 18; Chaz Rennie Green, 19; Corray Neatron Bryant, 18; Deontae Javares Cherry, 17; and an unnamed juvenile were charged with unlawful street gang activity and inciting a riot, according to sheriff's Sgt. Richard Roundtree.

As of Monday afternoon, investigators were still searching for 17-year-old Johndrick Barnes and an unnamed juvenile.

Four juveniles and four students 17 or older were arrested the day of the fight and charged with disorderly conduct.

Richmond County investigators said they think there were people at the school during the fight who were not students, and they are searching for them.

"We know that there were some people who were not supposed to be in the school, but we don't know their level of involvement," Sgt. Roundtree said.

Attempts to talk to school officials about student safety and security at the historic school were unsuccessful.

Messages left for both school Superintendent Dana Bedden and Julia Porter-Stein, the school board's director of public safety, were not returned Monday.

The April 3 disturbance apparently began with a fight involving eight students, but soon the crowd swelled to nearly 700 people, according to Sgt. Roundtree.

Surveillance video shows the suspects flashing gang hand signals, also called "signs," to get other students into the fight. Witnesses said more fights erupted and at least 50 people were involved.

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