ADEL, Ga. – On Monday, April 15, at 2:30 p.m., local officials and members of the GBI called a press conference outside of The Stage on West First Street.
“We need the public’s help finding these shooters,” GBI Special-Agent-in-Charge Mark Pro said prior to the beginning of the press conference.
No one, it seems, is talking. Of the 300-plus people who were in attendance, investigators have yet to find anyone who is willing to come forward with information about exactly what happened after the prom Saturday night.
Cook County Sheriff Doug Hanks, Adel Police Chief Chad Castleberry, District Attorney Dick Perryman stood in front of The Stage, where shooters opened fire – leaving one teen dead, another one potentially paralyzed, and a juvenile grazed by a bullet.
“We are extremely fortunate there were not more children and more adults who were shot as a result of this incident,” Assistant Special-Agent-in-Charge Jason Seacrist said.
When officers arrived just prior to 1 a.m. Sunday morning they found 19-year-old Deshone Pierce lying in the parking lot with a gunshot wound to his back. Officers were then dispatched to a convenience store a few blocks away where they found Emmanuel Whitehead, 18, in a vehicle with a gunshot to his abdomen.
Later a 14-year-old juvenile was identified as third gunshot victim.
Pierce was transported to SGMC in Valdosta and due to his injuries he was transported to Shands in Gainesville.
Whitehead, who had recently completed his initial training in the U.S. National Guard, was pronounced deceased at SGMC. The juvenile was treated at Tift Regional Medical Center and released.
The party that occurred at The Stage was publicized on social media as an after-party for prom. Multiple counties were represented by the 300 or more attendees, including Cook, Berrien, Lowndes, Tift, Colquitt and likely other counties. Children as young as 12 were present when almost 100 gunshots rang out.
They have interviewed multiple people who were there when the incident occurred but the vital information investigators need to make an arrest has not been forthcoming.
“Today what we want to do is reach out to members of the community, to Berrien, Tift, Lowndes, Colquitt and Cook County to provide us the information we need,” Seacrist said. “If you have any information regarding this indent call the Adel Police Department at 229-896-2224, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office at 229-896-7471, and you can also call the GBI Region 4 Douglas office at 912-389-4103.”
Seacrist said the shooting was “related to gang activity.”
He added that the public’s assistance is “vital,” saying that, “for us to be able to solve this crime, we will need people to come forward.”