Gun fired near NHCC
An event at the Nelson Heights Community Center resulted in gun fire in the surrounding area and two hours of police presence Friday evening.
The community center was rented by a woman for her daughter’s graduation party for the standard rental fee of $150, according to J.C. Henderson, a county commissioner and chairman of the Nelson Heights Board of Directors.
Henderson said the party, which was scheduled to end at 11 p.m., featured “no drinking or pot smoking, just dancing for about five hours.”
According to Covington Police Department reports, at 11:34 p.m. officers were dispatched to the area of Puckett and Laseter streets in reference to gunshots being fired at the Nelson Heights Community Center. Callers told CPD that the shots came from the backseat of a brown or silver Chevy Impala, and the shooter was described as a black male wearing a white T-Shirt and long pants with dreadlocks.
When officers arrived on scene, a large crowd of what was reported as 1525 year olds had gathered out in the street in front of the community center. Witnesses in the crowd gave police the same description of the vehicle and shooter as callers had. Some witnesses identified the shooter as “JJ.” According to the report, JJ is known to CPD as “a subject who is frequently armed and has been involved in several situations in which gunshots were reportedly fired.”
According to reports, witnesses stated JJ fired several shots out of the vehicle and into the air Friday night. Witnesses also told officers that they heard more gunshots from the wood line behind the community center on the paths which lead to the adjoining Green Acres neighborhood.
As officers arrived on the scene they began clearing out the groups gathered in front of the center, along with Henderson, who was asking everyone to leave. Henderson told The News he was in contact with Newton County Sheriff Ezell Brown earlier that evening, in case any assistance was needed.
“If somebody went into the street and did some- thing, I don’t think you can hold me or the facility liable for that,” Henderson said.
Officers reportedly struggled to get the streets cleared with small pockets of people continuing to loiter on Laseter Street and Pineview Drive. According to reports, a person in this group was concealing a firearm. That person also identified JJ as the shooter, the reports said.
Another large crowd was arguing and refusing to disperse on Shadow Glen Court and Pineneedle Drive, when officers arrived to see people arguing.
“Finally, there was a reported argument on Pineneedle Drive and Greenway Cove in which the complainant believed that the subjects were about to start shooting,” reports said. “In total, it took approximately two hours for the crowds to disperse and the loitering/ argument complaints to cease in the Green Acres and Nelson Heights communities.”
According to reports, when officers responded to the argument, they noticed JJ, wearing blue jeans and a white T-shirt with his dreads pulled up on the top of his head. He reportedly told officers that he was at the party and left in a silver Impala, and he denied shooting the gun.
According to the reports, JJ said the shooter was someone by the name of “Keyboo,” an “O’Valley Boy.” CPD said the O’Valley Money Gang is an associate gang of the Pac Man Gang.
Another witness also identified Keyboo as the shooter, and JJ was released.
Reports state that the Pac Man Gang was listed on at least one social media posting as partially hosting the event. Earlier in the day of the party, officers were made aware of a social media posting about a party called “Bounce Dat Ass Part II,” scheduled to be held at Nelson Heights Community Center at 8 p.m. Friday.
CPD decided to put extra officers on patrol in the area of Laseter and Puckett streets for the duration of the party to try and deter criminal activity.
Henderson said he was not made aware of any gang ties or social media advertising.
“Nobody called me until they were there,” Henderson said. “Maybe if the police gave me a heads up … I don’t know.”
Henderson said this is the biggest crowd the Nelson Heights Community Center has hosted and he will address having an off-duty officer at future events of this size at the next center board meeting.
“First of all we need to make sure they have at least an off-duty officer that they pay for,” Henderson said.