Gunshots, arguments break out in wake of Nelson Heights party

COVINGTON — It took police more than two hours to break up crowds of people loitering and arguing in the streets after gunfire was reported in the aftermath of a large party at the Nelson Heights Community Center this past weekend.

Police first learned that a party was to be held Friday night at the community center when they discovered a series of social media advertisements for the event. The party was billed as “Bounce Dat A— Part II.” The ads stated, “No drama & come clean… If you not shaking yo a— you get kicked out!”

“At least one of the social media postings found made reference to pill, alcohol and marijuana consumption. At least one social media posting made reference to the event being partially hosted by ‘PMG,’ which is believed to be the ‘Pac Man Gang,’” the incident report states.

Sgt. Asher Dozier stated in the report that he contacted members of the Newton County Board of Commissioners to determine if the facility had been legitimately rented for the party and to find out who to contact if any issues arose.

“Sgt. Dozier was informed that (Commissioner) J.C. Henderson had authorized use of the facility for the party and had delegated himself as the contact person if any issues arose,” the incident report states.

CPD officers stepped up patrols of the area throughout the night. Around 11:30 p.m., officers received multiple calls that gunshots had been fired in the area of the Nelson Heights Community Center.

Witnesses at the scene told officers that the shooter was identified as a man known as “JJ” and was seen in the back seat of a brown or silver Chevrolet Impala.

“The witnesses also stated that the vehicle was leaving the party and, when near the intersection of Laseter and Puckett streets, JJ fired several shots out of the vehicle and into the air,” the incident report states. “Witnesses also reported hearing more gunshots from the woodline behind the community center on the paths which travel to Green Acres.”

Henderson was inside the community center cleaning up from the party and told Sgt. Dozier that he wanted everyone to leave.

“Officers began clearing the large crowd off of the property, which resulted in several follow-up calls and situations due to smaller pockets of the crowd loitering in smaller pockets in the streets and yards in both Green Acres and Nelson Heights,” according to the incident report. “Several small pockets continued to loiter on Laseter Street and Pineview Drive and refused to disperse.”

One CPD officer reported finding a firearm concealed on a male in a group that was loitering on the street after leaving the party at Nelson Heights as well.

Police responded to another group of people who had previously been told to leave the community center and who began to argue in the area of Shadow Glen Court and Pine Needle Drive.

“Finally, there was a reported argument on Pine Needle Drive and Greenway Cove in which the complainant believed that the subjects were about to start shooting,” the incident report states.

Just before 1 a.m., officers responded to an argument that involved the male known as JJ, who was suspected of firing the gunshots earlier in the night. According to the report, JJ is “known to officers as a subject who is frequently armed and has been involved in several situations in which gunshots were reportedly fired.”

JJ and another witness at the scene denied that he had fired the weapon and instead said it was a male who goes by the name “Keyboo” and who is a member of the OValley Money Gang, an associate gang of the Pac Man Gang, the report states.

JJ was released at the time, but the case has been turned over to the Criminal Investigation Division.

In all, it took seven CPD officers and four Newton County Sheriff’s Office deputies about two hours to disperse crowds and quell arguments in the Green Acres and Nelson Heights communities, the report states.

“I am extremely disturbed that Mr. Henderson is the point of contact for this event that occurred at the community center that, by all indications, our officers determined was promoted through social media as an event that would involve pill, alcohol and marijuana consumption,” said Covington Police Chief Stacey Cotton. “Obviously, the people involved have known gang affiliations in our community that we are constantly dealing with. At the same time, I want to thank the citizens who came forward to give us information that will continue to help us track down who we believe the shooters were. We are still investigating this incident and hopefully we can uncover more information soon.”