COVINGTON — The Covington Police Department has arrested six Conyers residents who allegedly mixed alcohol with gunpowder during what they called a "celebration" of the five-year anniversary of the death of their Gangster Disciple friend.
CPD spokesman Wendell Wagstaff said around 3 a.m. Tuesday Officer Anthony Walden was out of his car, checking on Access Road businesses in the vicinity of Nagoya's restaurant and Longwood Memorial Park cemetery, when he saw a pickup and a red Camaro driving recklessly down the road and could hear "loud screams" coming from both vehicles.
"Then he saw the right front passenger in the Camaro, lean out the window with a rifle and fire five rounds out the window," Wagstaff said. "He initially thought the rounds were being fired at the truck following."
As the officer ran to his car, he observed the truck enter the cemetery and speed rapidly toward Dinah Pace, while the Camaro followed, but it stopped in the cemetery and parked with its lights off, Wagstaff explained.
"At this point the officer knew he was approaching armed suspects ... he pulled up to the Camaro and saw three males standing over a grave in the cemetery," Wagstaff said. "They appeared to be unsteady on their feet, were flushed and the officer could smell the odor of alcohol coming from all three."
By this time, backup arrived, including deputies with the Newton County Sheriff's Office, and the three men at the grave site were detained.
Officers observed a .30-caliber carbine rifle, five empty shell casings and a .30-caliber magazine, all lying in plain view in the suspect's vehicle.
One of the suspects, Andrew Snow, said the vehicle and the weapon belonged to his grandfather who was unaware that he had taken them.
"He said they were out ‘celebrating' the five-year anniversary of the death of one of their friends who was a Gangster Disciple. He and his friends were at a party at his house and decided to come out to the cemetery to celebrate," Wagstaff said, adding that all three of the suspects had black bandannas. "They said they were wearing the black bandannas out of respect for their dead friend, and Officer Walden noted that the five shots fired matched the anniversary years."
Prescription drugs, later discovered to be commonly used for seizures, were found on Snow in a yellow metal container. Wagstaff said Snow admitted he did not have a prescription for the pills.
Meanwhile, other officers located the pickup and it was determined to be occupied by a woman and two men who were also guests at the party and were part of the "celebration."
These suspects, too, smelled of alcohol and there was some disagreement among them as to who was driving at the time of the shooting incident. Crystal Blaney said her husband Rory Blaney was driving, while Rory maintained his pregnant wife Crystal was actually driving. Wagstaff said, ultimately, it was undetermined who was driving so both were charged with reckless driving.
Wagstaff said none of the suspects ever admitted to being part of the Gangster Disciple gang, only that their dead friend had been and they were honoring his memory.
Arrests and charges were:
• Crystal Blaney, 25, 2631 Pine Ridge Drive, Conyers, was charged with reckless driving, reckless conduct, criminal street gang acts, criminal trespassing and furnishing alcohol to minors;
• Rory Christopher Blaney, 20, of 3450 Cumberland Trail, Conyers, was charged with reckless driving, reckless conduct, criminal street gang acts, criminal trespassing and consumption of alcohol by a minor;
• Bryan Griffin, 19, 2175 Rolling Acres Drive, Conyers, reckless conduct, criminal street gang acts, criminal trespassing and consumption of alcohol by a minor;
• Jesse Lewis, 19, 4003 Sugar Valley Drive, Conyers, was charged with reckless conduct, criminal street gang acts, criminal trespassing and consumption of alcohol by a minor;
• Andrew Snow, 18, 2704 Goode Road, Conyers, who was charged with reckless driving, reckless conduct, criminal street gang acts, criminal trespassing, consumption of alcohol by a minor and possession of drugs not in original container;
• Christopher Brown, 22, 1351 Kay Terrace, Conyers, reckless conduct, criminal street gang acts, criminal trespassing and furnishing alcohol to a minor.