DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. — The family of a 15-year-old shot and killed at a Douglasville house party said Tuesday in a statement that "he was our baby and brought immeasurable love to us" as police announced the arrest of three people and the continuing search for a fourth suspect.
The Douglasville Police Department announced the arrests in a press conference that was posted to their Facebook page.
Police said four young males from Cobb County arrived at the house party in a car the early morning of Dec. 31, then abruptly left. As they drove away they fired back at the party, with one bullet striking and killing the 15-year-old victim.
The department announced the arrests of a 17-year-old, 18-year-old and 20-year-old, and said they continue to search for 17-year-old Jabari Wilson.
"If you are harboring Jabari, we're gonna come have a conversation with you," Douglasville Police Chief Gary Sparks vowed.
Wilson faces charges including murder and violations of the Georgia Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act.
The 20-year-old was arrested in Oklahoma, Sparks said, and is being charged with murder, aggravated assault, various weapons offenses and violations of the Street Gang Act. The 17-year-old and 18-year-old are charged with aggravated assault and party to the crime of murder.
The victim remains publicly unidentified, with the family asking in their statement Tuesday for privacy.
Chief Sparks described the victim as a member of the baseball team who "touched a lot of people."
"As a family never in our wildest dreams did we think there would come a day where we'd be faced with the devastation of the murder of our son and brother This has been the most difficult time of our lives. He was our baby and brought immeasurable love to us and so many others," the family statement, read by their representative Maxwell Billieon, said. "Now he is gone forever, stolen from us by a single bullet in the blink of an eye. The pain that we feel is unspeakable, it is something that no parent or sibling should ever have to endure
"Our baby boy is gone and there is nothing that can change that," the family added.
A house party featuring drugs and alcohol was advertised on social media ahead of the killing, and police believe 70-100 people showed up at the rental property on Deering Court.
Anyone with information about Wilson's whereabouts or who can provide more details on this case is asked to call Douglasville Det. Andre Futch at 678-293-1633.
The family also addressed the suspects in their statement, as well as Gov. Brian Kemp and former Sen. David Perdue, who have recently both endorsed relaxing Georgia's gun regulations in their Republican gubernatorial primary campaign against one another.
"To the murderers, we hope that this senseless act of gun violence can serve as a defining moment of change in your lives. Because of your decision to unlawfully carry and illegally shoot a firearm on New Year's Eve 2021, you will forever be connected to us," the statement said. "We pray that you seek forgiveness from God and take full accountability that you must now face in the form of justice."
To the governor, the family asked he also "take accountability."
"The murder of our child and brother is made all the more painful by your and David Perdue's efforts to enact legislation that grants criminals the access and opportunity to carry firearms, registered and unregistered, without permits and background checks, at will with no oversight," the family said. "While today is no time to address the political undergirding of violent acts of gun terror, we know it will come soon."