On Nov. 16 at 4 a.m., Kennesaw Police said the suspects shot at a home on Cranbrook Walk, in the far northwest corner of the city limits.
Police said the intent was to kill at least one of the five people who were home at the time, including Mariannette Jones, Darryl Hill, Elijah Vento, Devon Thompson and one child.
“Several shots were fired into the north side of the home, targeting the bedroom of Elijah Vento, an ex-gang member,” the warrant said. “Approximately three bullets penetrated the home, with one entering a bedroom window and striking the wall.”
Christopher Davis of Acworth was arrested last week at a home off Big Shanty Drive. Kristian Williams, of Austell, was arrested at a Wendy’s restaurant off Richard D Sailors Parkway in Powder Springs.
Timothy Reddie of Kennesaw, who was also apprehended, served as the getaway driver the night of the shooting, according to the warrant.
Alexander Market of Acworth was also arrested last week. According to the warrant, Market told Vento’s girlfriend in front of several witnesses before the shooting that “everyone wants (Vento’s) head. … If we can’t get to him, we’re coming after you and your sister.”
One suspect, Brian McCary of Kennesaw, is still on the loose, and referred to by Kennesaw Police as a known member and leader of the Piru 151 Bloods street gang.
“While in the capacity of leader and ‘shot caller’ of the (Piru 151 Bloods) street gang, (McCary) ordered a gang-motivated shooting,” the warrant said.
Suspects face gang charges
The Kennesaw Police investigation into the gunfire at the city residence was aided by the Cobb District Attorney’s office.
Cobb District Attorney Vic Reynolds said the delay between the November shooting and the arrests this month was used to substantiate the gang-related charges.
“The shooting was gang-motivated and in retaliation to a person choosing to leave the gang,” the warrant said.
The five suspects, who have not been granted a bond, face charges of felony aggravated assault and being associated with a criminal street gang.
For a gang charge to stick, Reynolds said the evidence has to point to more than a single aggravated assault. The criminal activity must be tied to a gang, and the motivation must be to increase the group’s identity in the community.
For the Kennesaw shooting, Reynolds said he feels confident the burden of proof will be met through witnesses who will testify about the suspects’ affiliation with the Piru 151 Bloods.
Reynolds said the case will also include testimony from experts in Georgia on the retribution inflicted by gang members if a person refuses to join or leaves a gang.
Reynolds said last summer he hired Mike Carlson as Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney to specifically prosecute gang cases.
Carlson was directed by Reynolds to work with every police department in Cobb on “how to investigate a gang case and bring gang charges,” Reynolds said.
In the latest Kennesaw case, Carlson assisted in interviews, arrests and the execution of search warrants.
“Where ever they are, we will find them, prosecute them and send them to jail,” Reynolds said.
The Cobb County Police Department has a three-member Cobb Anti-Gang Enforcement Unit, with most of the gang crime attributed to south Cobb.
“We certainly are aware of gang activity in this county,” Reynolds said.
But, according to Officer Scott Luther of the Kennesaw Police Department, this is the first case of gang-related arrests in Kennesaw in the last three years, from the beginning of 2011 until now.
“The fact that the Piru gang is actually existing in Kennesaw is an eye-opening event,” Reynolds said.