Locals honored for part in apprehension of Brian Nichols

While Fulton and Atlanta officials still are being scrutinized after a deadly courthouse shooting two weeks ago, Gwinnettians were honored for their roles in the apprehension of the suspect.

On Thursday, Ashley Smith of Duluth and the Gwinnett County SWAT team appeared in the General Assembly to accept resolutions in their honor.

Nichols was taken into custody outside Smith's Duluth apartment after allegedly holding her hostage throughout the night. Law enforcement agencies have credited her calm demeanor in diffusing the situation and persuading Nichols to surrender peacefully.

"Ashley's brave actions led directly to the apprehension of the accused perpetrator of the horrible events that day at the Fulton County Courthouse and later that evening in Buckhead," said Pedro Marin, whose 96th House District includes Smith's apartment complex. "Her story of how her faith in God carried her through this experience is an inspiration to us all."

Marin also praised the Gwinnett County Police Department's Uniform and Communications Divisions and SWAT team, saying "their swift and professional response to Ashley's 911 call peacefully resolved this crisis."

"The people of Georgia and all Americans grieve for the victims of the events of March 11, 2005, and their families," Marin said. "We also thank God for these angels who helped prevent more suffering."

County Police Chief Charlie Walters spoke to the House members.

"The true hero in this incident is Ashley," he said. "What we did, if you'll allow me a sports cliche, is play like we practiced."

Bull riding

By the way, for those who left the Button Bash early on March 19, you missed out.

After many of the politicians filtered out of Wild Bill's for the annual event, homeowner activist Mark Williams and developer Emory Morsberger took turns riding the mechanical bull.

Williams lasted a little longer, but both ended up on their backside.

It was all in the name of revitalization.

Dems blast

Perdue in new ad

The race to unseat Gov. Sonny Perdue got more heated last week when the Democratic Party of Georgia launched a new ad campaign.

Talking about the HOPE Scholarship Fund, the campaign is called "Hopeless." It can be viewed at www.HopelessPerdue.com, and will be appearing on news Web sites across Georgia.

In a press release, the party accused Perdue of "raiding millions of dollars" from HOPE to pay for a Web site "at the same time he and his GOP legislature are capping benefits for scholars."

"Gov. Perdue was against HOPE in the beginning and is raiding it today," said Bobby Kahn, Chairman of the Democratic Party of Georgia. "Gov. Perdue has proven that he cannot be trusted with HOPE."

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.