LAWRENCEVILLE - Authorities have recovered the gun a 17-year-old boy allegedly used to kill his mother - a Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department deputy - and his two younger sisters, police said Friday.
Gwinnett police, assisted by the Hall County dive team, found the weapon in one of two places Anthony Tyrone Terrell Jr. said he had disposed of it: a Duluth apartment complex, police said.
Hall County Sheriff's Department Maj. Jeff Strickland said the gun was found by divers in a pond at the Amber Trail Apartments.
The complex is located off Old Norcross Road, near the Northwood Country Club.
Police have charged Terrell with three counts of murder and aggravated assault. According to his arrest warrant, he struck his mother before shooting her to death.
Police did not say if the gun Terrell allegedly used belonged to the slain deputy.
The teen is being held without bond in the DeKalb County Jail "because of the high sensitivity of the situation," Gwinnett police Officer David Schiralli said.
After responding about
8 p.m. Thursday to a report of gunshots on Madison Chase Drive, Gwinnett police discovered the bodies of Deputy Joy Deleston, 39, and her daughters, 11-year-old Micaiah and 4-year-old Jelani inside their two-story home.
Neighbors said the family had moved into Madison Chase subdivision about six months ago.
Terrell, who also lived there, was not home when police arrived. He was not initially considered a suspect, but police said they found probable cause to charge him early Friday following interviews.
Police did not disclose what specific evidence led them to charge the boy, nor did they offer a motive late Friday.
The teen waived his right to a first appearance Friday in Gwinnett Magistrate Court. His preliminary hearing is expected later next week, a court official said.
Lawrenceville attorney Lyle Porter has been assigned to represent Terrell. Porter did not return a message left at his office Friday afternoon.
The arrest is Terrell's first in Gwinnett, according to jail records. He was born in Valdosta and brandishes three tattoos - including the word "Slim" and an outline of South Carolina, records show.
Gwinnett County Public Schools spokeswoman Sloan Roach said Terrell is enrolled as a sophomore at Central Gwinnett High School in Lawrenceville. Micaiah was in sixth grade at Richards Middle School, she said.
Grief counselors were present at the middle school Friday to talk with students in Micaiah's classes, as well as children who rode the bus with her, Roach said.