Four people are facing gun-related charges after area police had a wild hour Tuesday night in two separate incidents that involved guns at about the same time.
One incident locked down the Brunswick High School gym during a basketball game while the other involved an AK-47-type assault rifle.
At about 7:20 p.m. Tuesday, Glynn County Schools Resource Officer Jody Vicent noticed a man with a handgun tucked in the waistband of his pants attempting to enter the basketball game between Brunswick High School and Glynn Academy at the Brunswick High School gym.
The man, identified by Schools Police Chief Rod Ellis as 19-year-old Ahmaud Marquez Avery, ran when Vicent tried to stop him, said Ellis, who was on alert in his police vehicle in a parking lot because of a nearby chase involving Brunswick police.
Ellis said he drove alongside Avery with his gun pointed at him as Avery ran along a sidewalk in front of the school. After being ordered to stop several times, Ellis said Avery ran between buildings to the back of the school, where two officers cornered him and arrested him.
"Once he was handcuffed, the offender confirmed by exculpatory statement that he was indeed armed, but he had dropped the weapon in his attempt to escape," Ellis said.
An intense search, joined by Glynn County police, Brunswick police and College of Coastal Georgia police, found a .380 caliber semi-automatic pistol under a folding sandwich board-style sign in front of the gym, Ellis said.
In the course of the chase, a school resource officer fell and fractured his hand.
Ellis said the gym was placed on lockdown immediately after Vicent spotted the gun, meaning no one was allowed into or out of the building.
Avery is charged with two felonies, possession of a weapon on school property and obstruction of an officer with violence, and a high and aggravated misdemeanor of obstruction of a public school. Ellis said other charges may be pending.
While the chase at the high school was going on, Brunswick Police were busy several blocks to the south after hearing gunshots while they investigated a report of an armed robbery.
Capt. Kevin Jones said officers responded at about 7 p.m. to the 2400 block of Union Street, where a man working on a three-man crew selling furniture from the back of a truck said he had been robbed.
The man told detectives he and his co-workers had met three men at a nearby fast-food restaurant who asked them to deliver furniture to an address on Union Street.
When the furniture truck arrived, Jones said the three would-be robbers, one of them carrying an AK-47-type rifle, ordered the man out of the truck, took his money and told him to undress. As the man was following the alleged robbers' orders, Jones said the man's co-workers who were still in the truck sped away in it.
While detectives were interviewing the man they heard what sounded like handguns being fired, accompanied by several rounds from an automatic rifle.
When officers got to an area near Ellis Street that they thought was the source of the gunfire they saw a car that matched the description of the one the alleged robbery victim had told them his robbers had been driving.
Police chased the car a few blocks before the suspects stopped and tried to run away. Police arrested all three, Jones said.
Officers found two .40 caliber pistols in the car and the assault-type rifle a short distance away, Jones said.
Police charged Jessie Fleming, 22, of Glynn County and Devonte Hicks, 21, of Brunswick with armed robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. They charged Donnie Baldwin, 27, of Brunswick with armed robbery, possession of a firearm during commission of a crime, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and involvement in criminal street gang activity.
Jones said other charges may be pending for all three.
* Reporter Michael Hall writes about public safety, environment and other local topics. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 320.