A 27-year-old man who stopped to get a soft drink from a machine near Bi-Lo in Thomson last Friday night was robbed of $6,000 in cash by two men who later were shot at along Interstate 20 by the victim and a friend with him, local and state authorities say.
No one reportedly was injured during the shooting incident, which erupted shortly after 8 p.m. with at least six shots being fired from the victim's handgun at the fleeing Hummer's two rear tires. The shots rang out just after the Hummer left Washington Road and made its way down the eastbound ramp of Interstate 20.
The search for the robbers in a red Hummer, who were being followed by the victim and his passenger, resulted in the arrests of two men from Conyers and Decatur and a large sum of money being recovered by deputies with the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department and a trooper from the Georgia State Patrol post in Thomson.
As of Tuesday, the Thomson Police Department, the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation still were involved in piecing together all of the details of what transpired between the robbery and subsequent shooting, according to Gary Nicholson, special agent in-charge of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Region 7 office in Thomson.
Agent Nicholson identified the two men arrested in the case as Norman Devoe, 36, of Decatur and Jermaine McMillian, 29, of Conyers - both of whom were charged with one count each of robbery by force and placed on investigative hold by Deputy Marc Coy of the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department. The two men remained jailed in the McDuffie County Law Enforcement Center in Thomson on Tuesday.
GBI Special Agent Shannon Serigney responded to the scene after Deputy Coy and Deputy C. Knoeferel of the Columbia County Sheriff's Department were able to get the Hummer stopped on Interstate 20 in Columbia County.
Kevin Elliot Gaines, of Thomson, told Officer Jamie Henning of the Thomson Police Department that he had parked his vehicle in the parking lot of Bi-Lo and was attempting to get a soft drink when a man, identified as the passenger of the Hummer, got out and struck him in the back of the head. A scuffle soon ensued between the two men, resulting in the attacker making off with $6,000 in cash.
The attacker and the driver of the Hummer then sped away. Mr. Gaines and his passenger, Mario Devaugh Hart, of Boneville, then gave chase in the victim's vehicle. The victim caught up with the robbers at the red light across from White Columns Inn before they exited Washington Road down the interstate highway - the victim and his passenger following behind them.
Deputy Coy later began a search for the two vehicles and eventually spotted them. Once the Hummer was stopped at Exit 183 in Columbia County, Deputy Coy and the Columbia County deputy took the two suspects into custody. During a search of one of the suspects, Deputy Coy found $2,020, consisting of eight $100 bills and 61 $20 bills. The deputy also discovered 46 $20 bills along the roadway where the two suspects had been standing.
A search of the other suspect revealed four $20 bills. Another 46 $20 bills were discovered near Exit 172 by Deputy Robert Hoffman and Georgia State Patrol Sgt. First Class Jason Johnson.