Police arrest second 'Winston Squad' gang suspect

tchitwood@ledger-enquirer.comMay 16, 2014 


A second suspect police sought in connection with a Benning Drive-area gang called the “Winston Squad” surrendered to authorities today, investigators said.

Antwann Barnes, 18, came to the Columbus Public Safety Center on 10th Street about 4:30 p.m. after seeing his photograph on TV news and in the newspaper, said police Sgt. Joe Weatherford.

Barnes is charged with robbery and violating Georgia’s criminal gang act, Weatherford said. The robbery charge involves a purse-snatching in a retail store, the sergeant said.

The suspect is to have a preliminary hearing in Columbus Recorder’s Court at 9 a.m. Monday.

Police sought the public’s help Thursday in locating Barnes, whom they believe to be associated with gang leader Jakeith Robinson, 19. Robinson faced criminal gang activity charges during a Thursday morning Recorder's Court hearing.

Robinson previously was connected to a burglary ring police believe targeted more than two dozen homes in east and north Columbus, authorities said.

Burglary and Theft Unit Detective Molly Davis testified Thursday that police for six months have probed Robinson’s connection to the “Winston Squad.” The group, which also goes by “Winston Gang,” is connected to multiple crimes, including homicide, drug offenses, burglary and car theft, she told the court.

The gang gets its name from Winston Road and spans multiple generations, she said. Older members go by “1440,” a reference to the old Baker Village housing project on Benning Drive. Davis said the gang’s active on Twitter and Facebook, and detectives built the case against Robinson partly through such online postings. Robinson not only used social media to set up gang meetings, but made threats to an unnamed person who claimed gang membership without Robinson's permission, police said.

Robinson claimed leadership in the group and posted videos of initiation fights, Davis said. Judge Michael Joyner set a $10,000 bond on Robinson's gang-activity charge

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