Seventh arrest made in LaGrange gang investigation - WRBL

Seventh arrest made in LaGrange gang investigation

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LaGRANGE, Ga. -

LaGrange police have made a seventh arrest in their ongoing gang investigation.

Tomas Gooden, of Newnan, was arrested Tuesday on an outstanding warrant. He is facing two new counts of Criminal Street Gang Activity stemming from an August shooting.

LaGrange police have spent several months reexamining recent crimes and found discovered some of those criminal activities had ties to local gangs.

"Through the investigation we have been able to link individuals back to street gangs," Sgt. Mark Cavender told News 3 by phone Wednesday. "We've been able to link particular crimes to gangs."

So far, seven have been arrested and charged in the ongoing investigation.

The first four arrests were announced Monday morning. They stem from two incidents last year in which the same group of four men were charged for armed robberies. Lashon Boddie, 18; Drexal McCurt, 19; Demarkeese Harrison, 20; and Kenderick Smith, 20, all of LaGrange, were arrested after the November 29, 2012 crime spree but are now facing the additional charges related to Criminal Street Gang Activity. After the initial investigation, the LaGrange Police Department's Criminal Investigation Section continued looking into the suspects and have since determined the men had ties to a local gang. All four, who were still in jail following their initial arrests, were served arrest warrants for Participation in Criminal Street Gang Activity on October 4 of this year as a result of that investigation.

That same extended investigation has tied gang members to an August incident in which a 17-year-old from Pine Mountain was shot. In that case, the victim told police he was shot while running away from a shooting at the Taco Bell on New Franklin Road. The investigation has revealed Torrie Hardnett, 22; and Cordarius Johnson, 20, both of LaGrange; and Gooden got into a gang-related argument before shots were fired. The teenage victim, whose name was not released, was transported to Columbus Regional Medical Center.

The LaGrange Police Department's extended investigation continues and more arrests may be announced.

Editor's Note: In a previous version of this story, WRBL said the 17-year-old in the August shooting had died. That victim was actually treated and released from the hospital and did not die.

James Brierton

James joined WRBL News 3 with experience from CNN, NBC News and his own hyper-local news site. He manages the WRBL News 3 Web desk. More>>

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