A career criminal who attracted attention by peeking into cars at a Westside hotel tried to slip past police early Tuesday by calling in a phony report of a shooting nearby, Athens-Clarke police said.
The trick didn't work; an officer pepper-sprayed and arrested 26-year-old Jovan Shanta Campbell, charging him with loitering and prowling, falsely reporting a crime, giving false information to police and obstruction of a law enforcement officer.
Officers also learned that Campbell is wanted in Barrow County on several counts of burglary.
Campbell, who lives at The Park on West Broad apartments, 2360 W. Broad St., has a long rap sheet, according to court records.
His first conviction as an adult was in 2001, when he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault for shooting someone in the leg during a dispute in Western Clarke County.
Campbell tried to out-fox police about 2 a.m. Tuesday when officers arrived to investigate a report that someone was looking into cars at Country Inn & Suites on Old Epps Bridge Road, a few blocks from Campbell's apartment, police said.
The woman who called about the prowler said he was slinking down to avoid surveillance cameras, according to police.
Campbell ran when officers arrived and jumped a fence into his apartment complex, police said.
While police chased him, a dispatcher alerted officers that someone had just reported a shooting at a Kroger store, about a half mile away on Alps Road, police said.
When police caught up to Campbell, they checked his cell phone and saw that he had just placed a 911 call; a dispatcher confirmed that the shooting call came from Campbell's phone, police said.
Campbell has racked up more than a dozen arrests since age 17, when he shot someone in the Stonehenge subdivision off Old Monroe Road.
A judge in 2001 sentenced him to seven years of probation for the shooting, but a year later, Campbell was charged with aggravated battery for fracturing someone's jaw; he served two years in prison, according to records.
After his release from prison in 2005, Campbell was arrested several more times in Clarke and Barrow counties for burglary, probation violation and other crimes.
When he was picked up for public intoxication outside a downtown nightclub in 2006, Campbell kicked and spat in the face of one of the arresting officers and was charged with felony obstruction.
That same officer helped to chase down Campbell Tuesday morning.