FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. — Two men arrested following a SWAT standoff in Fayetteville -- during which an 18-year-old was found dead -- have ties to a group some call "extremist," police confirm. One of them is the group's apparent leader.
Law enforcement descended on the Woodbyne Subdivision Tuesday after a person called 911 from inside a home along Selwyn Court and whispered that they had been kidnapped by an organization, according to police.
When officers arrived at home, they said 10 people were inside. According to investigators, nine walked out of the home willingly, but an 18-year-old was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Police blocked entry into the neighborhood for hours, as they worked to clear both the home and the scene. Ultimately, police arrested two people who now both face multiple charges in connection to the SWAT incident.
11Alive has since learned that those two people are part of the controversial Black Hammer Party, according to the Fayetteville Police Department. The group's spokesman, Oju Mukarok, confirmed the arrests online.
Gazi Kodzo, whose real name is Augustus Romain, reportedly leads the group.
On Tuesday at the scene, the 36-year-old told 11Alive he was the owner of the home where the SWAT standoff unfolded and raised concerns about how the 18-year-old died, saying he didn't believe the gunshot wound was self-inflicted.
However, he has now been charged with two counts each of aggravated sodomy, conspiracy to commit a felony, false imprisonment, kidnapping, aggravated assault and criminal street gang activity.
A 21-year-old man named Xavier H. Rushin, identified by the group as "Colonel Keenum," was also arrested and faces charges of conspiracy to commit a felony, false imprisonment, kidnapping, aggravated assault, criminal street gang activity and obstruction.
According to the group, the Black Hammer Party was formed in Atlanta back in 2019, and it is believed to be extremist. Black Hammer members have openly said they have an alliance with the Proud Boys, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has classified as a hate group.
Mukarok, the spokesman, said they don't mind being called an extremist group.
"We take that with pride; you take that label with pride," Mukarok said. "Because that means we're standing in line with those in history who have stood against evil and said against oppressive systems."
Romain and Rushin remain in the Fayette County jail in connection to the investigation, but the group said they would fight the charges.
"This isn't the Black Hammer Party's first run-in with the police," Mukarok said.
Meanwhile, Fayetteville police said this is just the beginning of their investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact the department.