Gordon County Sheriff's deputies were involved in a shootout early Thursday morning that resulted in the death of one woman, a gunshot injury to and the arrest of a man on murder and aggravated assault charges, and no injuries for any member of law enforcement, confirmed Chief Deputy Robert Paris.
Paris said the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has taken control of the investigation and that local officials would leave it to that agency to comment further.
The GBI on Thursday afternoon released the following statement:
"On Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, at approximately 3 a.m., the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was requested by the Gordon County Sheriff's Office to investigate an officer involved shooting and conduct a death investigation.
"Preliminary information indicates that Gordon County Sheriff's Deputies responded to 558 Mt. Zion Road, Resaca, Georgia, after receiving a report of a domestic disturbance at this residence.
"Upon arrival, deputies located the female victim, later identified as Krystal Lynne Jones, age 37, of the domestic violence and were confronted by Dwight Juliuse Jones, age 39. Dwight Jones immediately began shooting at the responding deputies and Krystal Jones. Krystal Jones was struck multiple times.
"A Gordon County Sheriff Deputy returned fire at Dwight Jones, striking him at least once and allowing the deputies to remove Krystal Jones from the residence. Krystal Jones died from injuries sustained from the gunshots fired by Dwight Jones. Dwight Jones remained in the house, armed with several firearms and ammunition, refusing to obey orders from deputies for several hours.
"Gordon County Sheriff Deputies were able to establish communication with Jones and ultimately convinced him to surrender. Jones was taken into custody without further incident and treated at a local hospital. Jones was lodged in the Gordon County Jail and is charged with Murder and two counts of Aggravated Assault.
"The GBI Medical Examiner's Office will conduct an autopsy on Krystal Jones.
"No officers were injured in this incident.
"The investigation is ongoing and once complete will be turned over to the Gordon County District Attorney's Office for prosecution."
Sheriff Mitch Ralston also post a statement to his website. It read:
"Shortly after midnight (Sept. 12), deputies responded to a domestic disturbance on Mt Zion Road which resulted in the death of a woman. After a stand-off involving several hours of negotiation, the suspect surrendered peacefully and is now in Sheriff's Office custody. No one else is being sought in connection with this event, and the regional GBI Office is assisting the Sheriff's Office in this investigation."
The man charged with the crimes had been arrested by the sheriff's office earlier this month.
According to jail records, Dwight Juliuse Jones, 39, of 558 Mt. Zion Road, Resaca, was arrested by the Gordon County Sheriff's Office on Monday, Sept. 2, and charged with criminal trespassing.
Church congregations of all denominations in the city of Calhoun and Gordon County will join in the mission to end hunger at the Gordon County Christian Ministerial Alliance's 10th annual Hunger Walk at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5, at the Calhoun Recreation Center.
The Hunger Walk raises funds for local food banks at the Voluntary Action Center, Blewer Food Bank, God's Pantry at Calhoun Seventh-day Adventist Church, and St. Vincent de Paul's Food Pantry at St. Clements Catholic Church. In previous years the Hunger Walk has raised upwards of $2,000 in a single afternoon.
Simply put, the event plays a major role in raising awareness of local hunger and alleviating hunger for local families in need.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, an average of 11.3% of people in Gordon County were food insecure from 2016 to 2018.
In those same years, data shows that an average of 3.8% of people in the county were members of "very low food secure households." Food insecurity is defined by the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods in a household or limited or uncertain ability to acquire those foods, and "very low food secure households" are defined by the USDA as households in which family members food intake and eating patterns were reduced or disrupted due to a lack of money or other resources.
The Voluntary Action Center, just one of the four food banks that will benefit from the proceeds of the Hunger Walk, served 26,615 hot meals to families affected by food insecurity in 2018 through its Community Kitchen program.
It also provided 2,997 families in Gordon County with food bags last year through its Food Pantry, reaching 7,907 people.
Jody Bryson represents his church, Calhoun First United Methodist Church, in the Ministerial Alliance and helped to organize this year's Hunger Walk in collaboration with Rosellen Burns of New Echota United Methodist Church. The Gordon County Ministerial Association is a group through which pastors from all denominations and faiths meet to plan and participate in community events.
"This is an event we hold every year, and it's something we want to continue doing for a long time," Bryson said. "The food banks in Gordon County provide an important service to this community and the Hunger Walk gives us a chance to work together as leaders from different faiths to give back to them."
All businesses, civic organizations and individuals are invited to participate in the Hunger Walk. Registration will begin at 1:30 p.m. before the race in the pavilion next to the Black and Yellow playground, near the George Chambers Resource Center. Those walking are asked to make a donation or to ask sponsors to donate to their efforts.
All donations should be turned in on the day of the walk.
The length of the walk will depend upon the ability of the walker and the amount of time they wish to spend on the walking trails.
Sponsors hope that this will be a family event and encourage children, youth, adults and senior citizens to participate; the paved route is accessible to strollers and wheelchairs.
For additional information about the Hunger Walk, contact Jody Bryson of Calhoun First United Methodist Church at 706-629-2685 or Rosellen Burns of New Echota United Methodist Church at 706-629-2445.
Downtown evacuated after DHM Adhesives fire
An industrial fire that started at about 1:15 a.m. Friday at DHM Adhesives resulted in the injury of one worker, the closure of all Calhoun City Schools for the day, partial evacuations in the are due to chemical smoke concerns, and representatives from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division and the federal Environmental Protection Agency investigating the blaze.
Calhoun Deputy Fire Chief Terry Mills said his crews arrived on the scene at 509 S. Wall St. five minutes after the initial 911 call. The shift that had just gotten off service was recalled to duty, followed by the rest of the city's firefighters, and then later the Gordon County and Bartow County fire departments were called in to help as well.
South Wall Street remained closed between Piedmont Street and near Prater Ford as of 10 a.m. and Mills was unable to say when those roads might be reopened. Crews were still spraying water onto the mill from South Wall and Oak streets.
Residents from the Calhoun Housing Authority apartments on Edwards Avenue were evacuated with help from the transportation department of Calhoun City Schools, and Calhoun First Baptist Church opened their doors to offer shelter to those who had been asked to leave their homes.
Mills also said that Apache Mills and Bentley Dye closed their businesses for the day voluntarily out of precaution.
Members of the state EPD and the federal EPA were in Calhoun investigating the fire.
Messages were left with Kevin Chambers with the EPD and the EPA's office in Atlanta.
Mills said both agencies were concerned about smoke in the area from the fire.
"As you can see, it's bad," he said.
Mills also said runoff from the scene was a concern due to the chemicals used by DHM Adhesives and that the fire department called in Marion Environmental to help contain the water flowing away from the building. Jennie Coker, school and community relations director for the school system, sent out an alert just after 6:30 a.m. Friday notifying the public of the move to close schools.
The schools system later announced via social media that Calhoun High School's band and football team will report to the school this evening for the Sonoraville game. The school's debate team will also gather together to attend an out-of-town tournament. All other after school activities and practices were cancelled.
City schools Superintendent Michele Taylor said that while they regret having to close the schools, she feels like it was the right decision.
"After consulting with safety officials, we felt it was in the best interest of all of our students and staff to stay clear of the hazardous chemicals," Taylor said.
The Calhoun-Gordon County Library was closed Friday as well.
Each week, fourth and fifth grade gifted students from across Gordon County gather at Belwood Elementary School to learn and collaborate together on projects related to robotics and math, literature and drama, science and ecology, geography and careers as part of the school system's G6 gifted program.
"The lessons are built around STEAM subjects and focus heavily on collaboration," said Belwood Principal Justin Timms. "It gives kids in our gifted programs the opportunity to work together on things they are interested in and to do that at their own pace."
Timms said the program operates much like an independent study program in that students are encouraged to make their own choices about which subjects they would like to study.
This means that while some students will opt to study literature, others might choose to learn about careers or ecology.
For students like Abby Mulkey, who elected to take part in the robotics program, selecting a subject was easy. She opted in for robotics because it sounded "really cool" and she wanted to study something she hadn't ever gotten to study before. Now, just a few weeks into the school year, she and her classmate Gianna Cordovi proudly showed off the robot they named BOBZILLA — which Mulkey insisted must always be written in all caps.
"We used code to make it drive and operate a crane machine," Mulkey said.
Getting a robot to operate a crane machine is just one element of a larger "challenge" that students are asked to complete, according to G6 teacher Ray McWhorter. Students in the robotics program compete in the FIRST LEGO League, an international robotics competition that involves designing and programming LEGO Mindstorm robots to complete specific tasks.
"The school gets sent a challenge mat from the league at the start of the year and it has individual missions on it that they have to work out and get their robots to do," McWhorter said. "They get eight weeks to look over the mat and figure out how to get it done, and then they get two and a half minutes to show that off in competition."
In competition, robots have to work completely independently, based on students' code, to complete all of the missions on the challenge mat. Missions include things like taking a loose piece from one model and placing it inside of another or getting a robot to lift a part of the mat in order to set off a reaction somewhere else.
Other students in the G6 robotics program, like Sierra Bowers and Paisley Lance, have moved from working on their robots to 3-D printing accessories for their robots to wear during competition. James Morris, another teacher in the G6 program, said they design the products in a program called CAD and then print them on the school's 3D printer.
On Tuesday, Bowers and Lance were working on creating a top hat accessory for their robots to wear during competition and a miniature top hat keychain that all members of their robotics team will get to keep.
"The hat is going to be black and the ribbon is going to be red," Lance said. "The side has cat ears and they're going to be white with pink inside."
A short walk down the hall from the robotics classroom, other students in the program were writing stories based on their own personal experiences after reading Shakespeare's work. The idea, they said, was to channel their life into something they could put a creative spin on.
In another classroom, students were studying ecosystems. They tested the PH of 10 different substances and are planning to visit a pond on campus to collect water samples, which they will then test in the hopes of discovering what changes could be made to make it a better ecosystem for animals and plants.
Other students were reading "Chasing Space" and "Hidden Figures" to learn about careers in space, and others were learning about geography and how math is used around the world.
"Our hope in making all these subjects available to these kids is that they'll find something they're interested in, love it, and want to keep learning about it forever," Timms said. "These are some of our best and brightest students and this program challenges them to think and apply material differently than any other program does."