Updated:CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga.,None —
Clayton County deputies are going after gang members in public schools. Channel 2's Erin Coleman was with investigators as they made four arrests Monday.
The investigation began several weeks ago with an alleged sexual assault near Morrow High School. Investigators linked it to suspected gang members and went after them. Some of the suspects were pulled out of class.
Two dozen deputies stormed Morrow High, leaving with 17-year-old Denzel Marshall, a suspected gang member, and a 16-year-old who is believed to be the leader of a rival gang.
“The two are both blood sets, competing against each other,” Clayton County Sheriff’s Sgt. Dwayne Harrison said.
A couple of weeks ago, the school was locked down during lunchtime because of threats.
“In many ways, what they were trying to do was to manipulate the school environment to create a base for their activities,” Clayton County Sheriff Kem Kimbrough said.
Kimbrough said gang members would check in for homeroom, but then disappear for the rest of the day. He said they used the school to try to recruit more members.
The other two Monday arrestees were found at their homes less than a mile away -- a 16-year-old in his pajamas and a 15-year-old. The latter teen had a shoebox full of paraphernalia, including a handwritten gang manual, deputies said.
All of the suspects face gang-related charges for allegedly fighting and violating the Georgia Gang Act. Deputies arrested another gang suspect a few weeks ago and charged the 16-year-old with statutory rape.
“It's definitely sending a message that it's not going to be tolerated,” Harrison said.