LAWRENCEVILLE - Three 16-year-old boys have been linked to a fatal shooting at a Norcross apartment and more than a dozen other armed robberies targeting Hispanics in that area, police said Friday.
Tunde Kevin Alatise, of Lilburn, Jovon Lamar Nicholson and Richard Williams Shugart, both of Duluth, were arrested Thursday evening on murder charges. More charges are pending against them for approximately 15 other armed robberies, said Cpl. Darren Moloney, spokesman for the Gwinnett County Police Department.
"These guys did their research well as far as targeting men who were easy targets," Moloney said. "The robberies were late at night in low-lighted areas. Some of the victims were intoxicated. The crimes were getting progressively worse and worse and more violent."
The arrests came after Community Response Team officers patrolling Pelican Drive - an area known for drug and prostitution activity - got an unexpected break.
Officers pulled over a red Acura Integra reported stolen during a carjacking several days prior. They discovered the driver, 17-year-old Leausha Monae Nicholson of Dacula, was also driving on a suspended license.
While police were questioning her, Nicholson told them she had information concerning several armed robberies and the people who committed them. One of the offenders was her 16-year-old brother, Jovon Nicholson, she said.
Investigators obtained search warrants for Nicholson's apartment on Boggs Road, as well as the homes of Alatise and Shugart. Items seized from their homes as well as the pattern of the crimes helped police link the trio to approximately 15 other armed robberies in the Norcross area.
One of the robberies at Bristol Court Apartments on July 8 resulted in the fatal shooting of Aurelio German Mendoza-Garcia as he sat in his car talking on a cell phone. Mendoza-Garcia was wounded just below his left shoulder. Although he was semiconscious at the scene when police arrived, he died within an hour of being transported to the hospital.
The only description of the shooter Mendoza-Garcia could provide to police before being loaded into an ambulance was a black man wearing all black clothing.
Mug shots of the suspects were not made public Friday because investigators were still scheduling photographic lineups with some of the robbery victims.