ATLANTA — Channel 2 Action News has learned that three people have been indicted for setting fire to the Wendy’s restaurant that was at the center of the Rayshard Brooks deadly shooting by police.
Brooks had fallen asleep in his car while in the drive-thru. He was later shot and killed by a police officer in the parking lot following a struggle in which Brooks took the officer’s Taser.
This coming June will mark two years since someone set the fast-food restaurant on fire during protests over Brooks’ killing.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne spoke to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis about the new indictments in the case.
“I think this indictment is particularly important. It sends a message that we are a community that supports protesting. We certainly know it’s one of your constitutional rights but what we do not tolerate is violent protest,” Willis said. “It is unacceptable to burn down a building in our community even in the name of a protest.”
Willis said video, mostly from social media, was pivotal in building the case.
“I’m very proud of the law enforcement agencies. They spent lots of time scouring over thousands of hours literally of video to make sure that they had the right people in this case.”
- 2nd person arrested in deadly shooting of 6-month-old boy
- Driver killed in shooting, crash off busy Gwinnett County road, police say
- Driver who ran man over found at same Ponce de Leon bar where it happened, police say
Willis said John Wesley Wade, Natalie Hanna White and Chisom Kingston have been indicted for setting the fire that destroyed the Wendy’s restaurant outside of which Brooks was controversially shot by police in 2020.
The indictment lists two counts of arson in the first degree and a count of conspiracy to commit arson in the first degree.
“Each of these three people took an active role in destroying this Wendy’s,” Willis said.
High profile defense attorney Drew Findling said he represents White, and she is unequivocally not guilty of the charges, and she has no relationship to the other two co-defendants.
He said video footage is actually helpful to her defense.
Winne went to an address listed for Wade and ended up speaking with Sharon O’Donnell.
“I was with John Wade from 7 a.m. all day the day of the Wendy’s fire,” O’Donnell said. “He absolutely did not do it.
He also spoke with Travis Morris.
“You were here when he was arrested in 2020 in the Wendy’s case?” Winne asked Morris.
“Yeah, I was asleep,” Morris said. “He definitely said he didn’t do it.
“This investigation was very difficult at first. It was difficult with the personnel with the Atlanta Fire Department, the Atlanta Police Department to gain access to the crime scene on June 13, 2020, due to the volume of people that were present that evening. But they were nevertheless able to persevere,” said Deputy District Attorney Michael Sprinkel.
Sprinkel also cited the assistance of the community and said the ATF was of valuable assistance.
Winne reached a person by phone who said he was Kingston. He indicated he would call back but had to speak to his attorney.
The DA’s office confirms the Wade in the Wendy’s arson case is the same person that Winne found in federal court records as having pled guilty to conspiracy to destroy by fire vehicles connected to the U.S. Postal Service.
©2022 Cox Media Group