A 16-year-old boy is dead and two teens are facing felony murder charges following "an exchange of gunfire" on Winston Road late Thursday night, according to Columbus police.
Authorities responded to reports of a shooting around 10:10 p.m. Thursday and found a dark sedan riddled with bullets wrecked at the intersection of Winston Road and Head Street. Christopher Jones, 16, was found in the driver's seat suffering from a gunshot wound to the head, witnesses said. He was later pronounced dead on the scene.
Jones' body was transported Friday to Atlanta for an autopsy, Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan said. His death is the 15th homicide in Muscogee County this year.
Columbus police said an investigation revealed 14- and 15-year-old boys were passengers in the vehicle at the time of the shooting but were not injured. Multiple weapons, including a stolen gun, were recovered from the vehicle that was reported stolen earlier in the day, police said.
The teens were taken into custody and charged with felony murder, possession of handgun by a minor, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and two counts of theft by receiving. Police did not release the names of the teens.
A third person, 44-year-old Antonio Robinson, was arrested during the investigation. Robinson is a resident of a home on the 1000 block of Winston Road. He is charged with two counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and keeping a disorderly house.
Both the teens and Robinson will appear in Columbus Recorder's Court on Saturday at 9 a.m.
Police have also not identified a possible suspect who was involved with the three teens in the deadly exchange of gunfire.
Details of shooting
Winston Road residents told the Ledger-Enquirer that there were multiple shots fired late Thursday night.
Dennis Gibbons said he was coming home from work when he heard several gunshots coming from several houses down on Winston Road.
He said the shots were fired rapidly, as though from a semiautomatic weapon.
"And then a couple minutes later, I hear a big boom," Gibbons said.
Outside, he said he saw where Jones' vehicle had crashed into the front yard of a home on the corner of Winston Road and Head Street.
Gibbons said he saw Jones slumped in the driver's seat.
He said the 16-year-old's car appeared to have been hit several times by gunfire.
Gibbons said he checked on Jones, but he did not feel a pulse so he then called police.
Gibbons, who moved to Columbus from Florida, said that parts of the Winston Road neighborhood are calm, and that several of the residents have children.
Gibbons said that residents have spoken with Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, asking for her help.
"I thought I got away from (this) when I left Miami," he said. "That's why I moved to Georgia in the first place."
Tomlinson said shootings such as those on Winston Road raise tough questions.
"Let's take the tragic homicide of (Chris Jones). We actually had police officers on patrol in the immediate vicinity. So they're on regular patrol, patrolling their beats, they were just in that area shortly before (the shooting)," she said. "Yet the presence of police officers in the vicinity didn't prevent this homicide.
"The things the chief and I talk about are, How do you prevent a homicide of a 14-year-old, 15-year-old, 16-year-old out in the early hours of the morning on a school night playing shoot-'em-up as if it's a video game, and it's their lives hanging in the balance? Those are the questions we have to ask ourselves."