A neighborhood fight reportedly involving members of two gangs led to eight young men and three juveniles being taken into custody in Thomson last Wednesday afternoon, authorities say.
It marks the first confirmed case of gang violence within the city limits of Thomson.
Thomson Police Chief Joseph D. Nelson said no one was seriously injured during the fight, which broke out around 4:30 p.m. on Austin Street. Each of the suspects was charged with disorderly conduct and taken to the McDuffie County Law Enforcement Center.
The suspects -- all from Thomson - were identified by jail records as:
Bobby Anthony Speaks, 20, of the 1400 block of Ansley Drive N.E.;
Demontez Dash Johnson, 17, of the 800 block of Austin Street;
Robert Lee Harling, 18, of the 200 block of Watson Street;
Antowne Marcus Lowe, 25, of the 400 block of Manassas Drive;
Jerry Deonte Cody, 17, of the 600 block of Anderson Avenue;
Deaundre Javarus Ross, 17, of the 400 block of Manassas Drive;
Demetrius Don Woodard, 18, of the 400 block of Manassas Drive; and
Joshua Edward Reese, 17, of the 100 block of West Street.
Chief Nelson said the juveniles were turned over to their parents. Charges against them will be handled through the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice.
"It was a turf war involving drugs and girls," Chief Nelson told The McDuffie Mirror .
He said the suspects were members of two different gangs, one known as The Brick Squad and the other referred to as The Red Bloods.
Chief Nelson said the two groups dress differently. The Brick Squad is clad in white T-shirts and blue jeans, while The Red Bloods dress in red and black clothing.
Prior to arriving on the scene, police officers had been informed that a gun was involved. Officers searched the suspects and the area, but found no such weapon, Chief Nelson said.
The police chief said gang activity would not be tolerated in the City of Thomson.
"We're watching for such activities and when it happens, we're going to deal with it," Chief Nelson said.
He explained that since this incident, he had contacted Toombs Judicial Circuit District Attorney Dennis C. Sanders about the way future gang cases should be handled.
"We're going to break this kind of stuff up in Thomson," Chief Nelson said.
"We're not going to have these kinds of crimes going on in this town."
Mr. Sanders concurred, the police chief.
In the future, Chief Nelson said gang violence charges, which are felonies, would be filed against suspects who are determined to be gang members.