Crime

Police: Deputy’s stolen gun was used in fatal shooting of “Droopy” Harris in Columbus

A suspected member of the Zohannon street gang took a pistol from a sheriff’s deputy personal vehicle before it was used in a Dec. 27 homicide on Dunwoody Drive in Columbus, a gang investigator testified Friday in Recorder’s Court.

Jaquavis Richardson, 17, pleaded not guilty to three counts of entering an auto, four counts of participation in criminal gang activity and theft by taking a Chevy Traverse valued at $36,000. Despite pleas from Richardson’s attorney William Kendrick to dismiss the gang participation charges, Judge Julius Hunter ordered the teen held without bond in the Muscogee County Jail and bound all charges over to Muscogee Superior Court.

The teen faces no charges in the 2:30 a.m. shooting of Jaquan Jermaine “Droopy” Harris at 1919 Dunwoody Drive but the homicide investigation continues, the gang investigator said. A preliminary autopsy report shows Harris, 19, died of a bullet wound to the chest, said Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan.

The gang investigator, who is not named after facing numerous threats, said he was assigned multiple cases of entering autos and theft by taking motor vehicles. Police interviewed a suspect who was wearing an ankle monitor on the day of the theft and entering autos.

Richardson’s name was mentioned as one of four suspects taking part in the car break-ins and thefts. A Glock 21, a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol, was taken from the sheriff’s deputy personal vehicle on Dec. 26 in the 5000 block of Abbott Avenue. It was used in the fatal shooting of Harris the next day.

Police have not recovered the stolen pistol but know it was tied to the homicide. “We know it is the same gun,” the investigator said.

Two more vehicles were entered in the 5200 block of Lloyd Road where a diamond ring, an iPad and other electronics were taken. A video camera was in operation at one residence, the investigator said.

The Homicide Unit served a search warrant at Richardson’s home on Victory Drive. During the search, police found a diamond ring taken from Lloyd Road along with other items. The stolen Traverse was recovered with bullet holes fired from inside the vehicle.

The investigator said Richardson has been on the radar of police in gang activity. He is a member of the Zohannon street gang and the Gangster Disciples. Police observed him in photos with other members on Facebook and other social media. After his arrest, other members made statements on the page, the investigator said.

The gang investigator said Richardson has refused to talk to police. “There are multiple cases Mr. Richardson is a suspect in and possibly homicide,” he told the court.

Kendrick questioned whether police only had a co-defendant placing Richardson at the scene of alleged crimes. He asked the judge to dismiss the gang charges because no evidence ties Richardson to gang activity.

At a minimum, Hunter said there is probable cause in the cases. He noted the diamond ring found from the car break-in on Lloyd Road.

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