When police first encountered Antwann Barnes, he was 13 years old. Now, the 18-year-old suspect is accused of participating in a generations-old gang connected to burglaries, motor vehicle thefts, drug activity and homicide, according to court testimony.
Barnes faced a criminal gang activity charge during a Tuesday morning Recorder's Court hearing. He faced an additional robbery charge during a Thursday morning hearing.
After several months of investigation, detectives pinpointed Barnes as a close associate of 19-year-old gang leader Jakeith Robinson, Detective Molly Davis said during Tuesday's hearing.
The Winston Squad gang gets its name from Winston Road and spans multiple generations, Davis said. Older members go by “1440,” a reference to the old Baker Village housing project on Benning Drive.
Barnes is accused of setting up gang meetings and posting videos of initiation fights through social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, according to court testimony
Police were tracking Barnes' possible involvement in the gang long before his social media activity was discovered, however. In April 2012, investigators discovered Barnes's Winston Gang tattoo on his right forearm while booking him on an unnamed charge. Davis also said Barnes has been connected to at least 20 separate criminal activities since his first arrests in 2007.
During Thursday's hearing, police connected Barnes to a purse snatching which occurred inside the 3201 Macon Road TJ Maxx on March 26.
The victim told police she was shopping when a suspect approached her, put her purse under his hoodie and walked away. A bystander noticed the theft and attempted to stop Barnes from leaving the parking lot by blocking the street. However, Barnes jumped a curb in his vehicle to bypass the witness's car and escaped, an officer told the court.
The total value of the stolen goods was valued at $300.
Judge Michael Cielinski set a $100,000 bond for Barnes criminal gang activity charge. A $10,000 bond was set for his remaining charge.