COVINGTON -- Residents along Ga. Highway 36 near High Ridge Road were startled awake in the early morning hours Sunday when shots rang out near their homes. Homeowners called the Newton County Sheriff's Office and deputies located a suspect.
"We had received a call about shots fired in the area," said NCSO spokesman Lt. Keith Crum. "When the responding deputy arrived, he heard additional shots fired. He traveled to the location where he believed the shots came from and came upon a group of young black males out walking."
Crum said the deputy, with assistance from a Georgia State Patrol trooper, also located a vehicle that had pulled up near the group of "older teens."
"They patted down the group in case they were armed, but no firearm was located," Crum said. "They did, however, find a book bag near the car and a pistol was in it and it had five empty shell casings."
Callers had said the one in the group shooting the gun was wearing a gray, hooded sweatshirt and after questioning witnesses, Lydell Antwon Williams, 17, of 5181 Turner St. was arrested. A sweatshirt matching witnesses' descriptions was found in the backpack belonging to Williams, as well as the gun.
Williams was charged with carrying a concealed weapon, discharging a firearm near a public highway, possession of a pistol by a person under 18, and reckless conduct.
None of the other teens was charged.
Crum said the shots were apparently fired at random, with no specific target in mind.
In other crime news, a man apparently shot himself in the leg near the Covington Square around 11 p.m. Friday and the resulting police investigation ended with the arrest of the woman who drove him to the hospital on drug charges.
According to a Covington Police Department incident report, Newton Medical Center emergency room employees notified the police they were treating a shooting victim. When police arrived to question the victim, he was evasive, stating he didn't know where he was when he was shot and that a "big gold Town Car" had brought him to the hospital.
Employees told police a female had brought the victim in and she was sitting in the waiting room. Identified as Tiffany Young, when she was questioned, she told officers she observed the victim on Pinecrest Drive "standing next to a tree in someone's yard."
She went with police to an area near Rebecca Street and Pinecrest Drive and pointed out an area where she said she had first observed her wounded friend. After being questioned further, the woman admitted that the young man had actually been shot while in her car near the Square.
"Young stated that as she was driving, she heard a loud bang (and the victim) started yelling to take him to the hospital. Young stated she drove (the victim) to Newton General, dropped him off, went home and hid the gun in her bedroom, then went back up to the hospital," the report states.
Officers then took her to her residence at 5123-B Cook St. to retrieve the gun, which they located in the bottom drawer of her dresser wrapped in a white T-shirt.
"While placing the .45-caliber handgun into an evidence bag, a small baggie (sic) of cocaine was also located inside the same bottom drawer as the gun," the report states. "There was also crumbled up loose marijuana in the top of the dresser along with J&B rolling papers. Officers then opened the top left drawer of the dresser and located a bigger baggie (sic) of marijuana inside. There was also a small pill bottle with Tiffany Young's name on it with two pieces of hash. Young advised that she knew nothing about the drugs inside the residence and stated they belonged to the (gunshot victim)."
Young was arrested and charged with possession of controlled substances. Warrants are set to be issued for the shooting victim. He was later transported to Atlanta Medical Center.