LAWRENCEVILLE -- A spate of shootings on the final day of January represented a burst of violent crime not seen in Gwinnett since a gang battle near Lawrenceville a quarter century ago, officials said.
All told, six people were shot in two unrelated incidents at homes in quiet pockets of Buford and Lilburn. The shootings happened in the span of about seven hours, leaving three dead.
The silver lining for authorities is that all culprits are reportedly in custody.
"Since I've been here, we've not had a busier day for this sort of thing," said Gwinnett police spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith, hired in 2005.
Gwinnett District Attorney Danny Porter could recall only one incident that resulted in more victims of gun violence in single day -- a late-1980s shootout between two Vietnamese gangs near Sweetwater Road.
"About 10 people were shot," Porter said of the incident, which predates his tenure. "Not all of them died, but several did."
The fatal shootings Tuesday represented the highest single-day count since Richard Ringold's alleged domestic rampage in August 2009, when five were shot, four fatally, in a Lawrenceville home, according to Gwinnett Medical Examiner's Office records. Ringold's murder trial is pending.
-- In the earlier incident, police have charged a Lilburn man in the double-shooting Tuesday that left one person dead and another in critical condition.
Gwinnett police arrested Jamell Richmond, 40, late Tuesday on one count of murder and two counts of aggravated assault.
Police identified the slain man as Demarcus Collins, 29, who lived at the 2010 Pucketts Drive duplex where the shootings happened. Collins died a short time after being transported from the scene, police said.
The other victim, Tucker resident Monica Tamez, 32, was hospitalized in critical condition but is expected to survive her injuries, said Gwinnett police spokesman Cpl. Edwin Ritter.
As for a motive, Ritter said Richmond had an argument with the victims, whom he knew. An arrest warrant for Richmond indicates he also lives at the duplex and used a handgun in the shootings.
Responding to a report of gunshots, Gwinnett police arrived at the two-story home off U.S. Highway 78 to find the victims wounded inside the home about 6:45 a.m. Tuesday.
Ritter said several people were inside the house at the time of the shooting. Richmond was not on the scene when police arrived but was soon identified as a person of interest.
-- Police announced Wednesday that a fourth shooting victim emerged from what investigators described as a firefight over a soured drug deal near Buford.
Gwinnett police charged Haile Lewis, 23, of Lawrenceville, with murder, aggravated assault and drug possession in what has been upgraded to a quadruple shooting at 2283 Ivy Crest Drive. The firefight left two people dead, including a man who lived at the residence, Daniel Turpin, 23, and another who'd traveled with the murder suspect to the home, Trenton Jones, 23, of Lawrenceville.
Like Lewis, a fourth man who was shot, Justin Kendall, 23, of Buford, is expected to fully recover.
Police on Wednesday said the shootings resulted from a marijuana drug deal at the home brokered by Turpin. Lewis and Jones came to Turpin's home about 2 p.m. to make a deal with him and Kendall but the transaction went south, said Ritter.
"The deal fell through, and Lewis began beating Turpin when gunfire erupted from both parties," Ritter said. "Once the gunfire ended, Turpin and Jones lay deceased at the residence."
Kendall ran to a nearby residence with multiple gunshot wounds seeking help, while Lewis left in a vehicle, also shot multiple times. Lewis later showed up at Atlanta's Grady Memorial Hospital in a stolen car seeking medical treatment, Ritter said.
Gwinnett investigators quickly developed probable cause to charge Lewis, who remained in serious condition at the hospital Wednesday. Where he stole the vehicle is under investigation, Ritter said.
Ritter said a 17-year-old girl was also inside the Buford house, but in another part of it.
"This female did not witness the incident and had no connection with the transaction," he said.
The Gwinnett Medical Examiners Office tallied six homicides in January, after counting 29 in all of 2011. The January figures include a police-related shooting in Stone Mountain and a case involving a man's skeletal remains found by a hunter in Buford.
While the numbers might be unsettling, Porter noted that he's seen worse.
"Several years ago I responded to three (homicide scenes) in one day," he said.