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3 homicide arrests made in Atlanta within 36 hours, US Marshals say

The three individuals were wanted in connection to three separate out-of-state homicides in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

ATLANTA — Three individuals wanted in connection to three separate out-of-state homicides have been arrested across Atlanta and the metro area within the last two days, according to the U.S. Marshals

The U.S. Marshals and the Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force partnered with the Atlanta Police Department, Georgia's SWAT team and the north metro SWAT team to make the arrests within 36 hours. 

Senior Inspector with the U.S. Marshals Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force, Frank Lempka, said a 27-year-old was arrested without incident on Monday at a home on Irwin Street. 

“He was actually in the country illegally. He had been stopped at least twice previously trying to enter the country from Mexico and turned away and then eventually got in," Lempka said.

The suspect was arrested in connection to a fatal hit-and-run incident that occurred in Raleigh, North Carolina less than three weeks ago.

On January 21, Erin Simanskis was involved in a fender bender during a snowstorm. She stepped out of her car to exchange information with the other driver when a separate driver hit and killed her. 

Simanskis was a TV assignment editor at 11Alive's NBC affiliate in Raleigh, WRAL.

“I just want him to know that he took our mom and my dad’s wife, and that’s the hardest thing to come to terms with," her daughter said in an interview with the station.

The suspect left the scene, only to be arrested in Atlanta on Monday. He was taken to the Fulton County Jail and is currently awaiting extradition in connection to charges related to that fatal hit-and-run. 

The U.S. Marshals said he is facing felony charges. APD assisted with his arrest, according to a release from the U.S. Marshals.

A 23-year-old was also arrested on Tuesday at a home on Holly Road NW. He was one of four suspects that were charged in a murder in Philadelphia that took place on November 29, 2021.

"The victim, in that case, was a 14-year-old boy who they had some kind of beef with," explained Lempka. "They jumped out of a vehicle and chased him down the road shooting at him and then stood over him and shot him in the sidewalk."

Lempka said the teenage boy was hit about 18 times, but 30 shots were fired.

"Two of the suspects were arrested shortly after in Philadelphia and then the third one was actually arrested in Gainesville, Georgia, about a month ago," he said. 

The 23-year-old was also taken to Fulton County Jail and is awaiting extradition in connection to the shooting death of the 14-year-old. At the request of the U.S. Marshals, Georgia State Patrol's SWAT team made the arrest. 

Additionally, a 19-year-old was taken into custody on Tuesday at an apartment on Greyfield Lane in Sandy Springs. He was taken to the Fulton County Jail and is awaiting extradition for charges in connection to the shooting death of 18-year-old Na'Kia Crawford. She was sitting in her car at a stoplight on June 14, 2020 in Akron, Ohio when she was shot and killed. 

"[Na'Kia] was going shopping with her grandmother... she just sitting at a stoplight minding her own business just going about her day, and gets shot and killed," Lempka said.

The suspect had evaded authorities for two years until his arrest this week in Sandy Springs. 

"His case was actually shown on In Pursuit of John Walsh, the television show, and tips came from that and tips came from other places, and a lot of stuff checked out," Lempka said. "We were able to act on one of the tips, locating him in Sandy Springs and arresting him."

The north metro SWAT team arrested him at the request of the U.S. Marshals. 

The Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force was started in 2003. It is run by the U.S. Marshals, but there are over 20 federal, state, and local agencies working together. 

Lempka said the agency arrests an average of 180 murder suspects a year.

"These cases were of particular interest because they were all pretty big cases. In these ones, innocent people got killed," he said. "A lot of suspects from other states come to Atlanta to hideout, and particularly murder suspects. "If anyone has a warrant for a violent crime, the warrants are not going to go away. Just because you leave the area, we're gonna locate you in a rescue no matter where you are."

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