Glynn County police say young men with guns and a stolen vehicle led police on a reckless rampage after midnight on Dec. 30, speeding down major thoroughfares and weaving through shopping plaza parking lots before crashing and bailing from vehicle at Old Cypress Mill Road and Poplar Street.
Pursuing police followed suit, bolting from their patrol cars and running the suspects down, according to a county police report released Thursday to The News. Police arrested three men, including a 17-year-old allegedly packing a handgun with its serial number scratched off. The 18-year-old driver also carried a firearm, police said.
Ray’shawn Edward Grovner, 18, was arrested and charged with possession of a firearm during a crime, felony theft, reckless driving, fleeing and attempting to elude police, willful obstruction of the law, possession of pot, driving without a valid driver’s license and a host of hazardous traffic violations. Verdez Ki’Shun Pinkston, 17, was arrested and charged with possession of a firearm with an altered serial number, possession of a firearm by a minor, party to felony theft and willful obstruction of the law.
D’Andre Bennett, 19, was arrested and charged with party to felony theft and willful obstruction of the law.
The incident began when a county police investigator in an unmarked vehicle became involved in a high-speed pursuit of a Ford Escape SUV at around 1:38 a.m. on Dec. 30 on Whitlock Street near Townsend Street. The investigator relayed the SUV’s license plate to a nearby patrol officer, who learned from dispatchers that the vehicle had been reported stolen in the county on Dec. 20.
The vehicle reached speeds up to 100 mph headed north on Whitlock after patrol officer Thomas Owens moved ahead of the detective and signaled a traffic stop with flashing lights. From there, the pursuit went up Whitlock Street to Old Jesup Road, onto Scranton Road and into the Golden Isles Plaza along Golden Isles Parkway. The vehicle then cut across the Altama Connector and into the Home Depot parking lot, circling around before zooming away on the connector, police said.
By this time, the pursuing officer had the commander’s OK to perform a controlled maneuver to use his patrol vehicle to immobilize the Ford Escape, the report said. The vehicle continued down the connector before turning onto Old Cypress Mill Road “at a high rate of speed,” police said.
The alleged car thief lost it when attempting a high-speed turn onto Poplar Street, skidding off the road and into a utility pole’s guy wire and a bush, police said. The driver allegedly continued on Poplar Street, but the officer officer managed to put his patrol vehicle into contact with the passenger side rear panel to perform the stopping maneuver.
That is when the four men allegedly jumped from the vehicle and made a run for it, the report said. Officer Thomas Owens ran after Grovner and “chased him through a nearby yard before apprehending him a short time later,” the report said. Grovner allegedly was carrying a handgun in his pants pocket, along with some pot, the report said.
Supporting officers established a perimeter in the area and were able to catch the three others, police.
After questioning at police department headquarters, three of the men were booked into the county jail, police and jail reports show.
The incident came as county police detectives investigate a deadly shooting Dec. 26 at Selden Park, which occurred when a dispute among numerous people erupted in gunfire. Amondrick Tijuane Roberts, 18, was transported via ambulance to Southeast Georgia Health System’s Brunswick hospital, where he died.
Gunfire from that shootout wounded a second man.
Police would not say whether the pursuit was linked to the shooting investigation.
Pinkston and Grovner remained Thursday in the county jail.