The home on the 300 block of Autry Street where police say Nicolas Jackson II was killed during a home invasion on Thursday night.
Location of Norcross home invasion
Location of Norcross home invasion
NORCROSS — As evening settled Friday on the city of Norcross, investigators were trying to determine what motivated a group of men with guns to target a stately home in a quiet corner of the city and kill a 15-year-old boy in his basement bedroom, before apparently leaving with nothing.
The victim, Nicolas Jackson II, a freshman football player at Norcross High School, was recalled as pleasant and respectful, while one official described the crime itself as devastating for the community.
The crime scene is an idyllic Craftsman home with large bays and high gables. Whether or not the home-invasion was random remains to be seen, officials said.
The killing marked the city’s first in more than two years.
Police believe six suspects came to Jackson’s home on Autrey Drive, tucked off Holcomb Bridge Road, and forced entry through a basement door about 6:30 p.m. Thursday. The home occupies a section of Historic Norcross where $400,000 Craftsmans mingle with modest bungalows.
Jackson’s sister, who was upstairs alone, reported a burglary in progress to 911 and provided a descriptions of the gray minivan the men allegedly fled in. A Norcross police officer in the area pulled the van over a few blocks away at Jimmy Carter Boulevard. Two of six suspects tried to run, but had only crossed a parking lot before they were apprehended by officers, said Norcross police spokesman Capt. Brian Harr.
Harr said several weapons were recovered in the van.
Responding police found Jackson in the basement with a single gunshot wound. He was transported via ambulance to Gwinnett Medical Center-Duluth, where he was pronounced dead, Harr said.
Harr said investigators are sifting through a “vast amount of evidence, statements and everything else” in hopes of bringing a motive to light. He specified that no evidence on Friday would suggest gang activity, or that any of the suspects knew the family.
No suspects remain at large.
“As we look into the background and everything else, something may come up,” Harr said. “Our focus is on a very broad range of information.”
Warrants indicate the shooting occurred during the course of a burglary. No items are listed as being stolen from the home.
Police took all six men into custody. Each faces single felony counts of murder and burglary, though more charges could be pending.
None of the suspects are listed as Gwinnett County residents. Two of them have spent time in Georgia prisons, according to Department of Corrections records. Police listed the supects as:
• Michael Davis, 23, College Park.
• Jason Dozier, 36, Lithonia. His past convictions in Georgia date back to 1996 and include theft by taking (DeKalb County), false imprisonment (Cobb) and robbery by sudden force (Fulton).
• Eddie Lewis Green, 46, Atlanta.
• Timothy Lamar Johnson, 34, Atlanta. He was arrested in Gwinnett in March last year on traffic charges, records show.
• Anthony Lumpkin, 32, Douglasville. His past convictions in Georgia include aggravated assault (Fulton County), impersonating an officer and robbery (DeKalb).
• Reco West, 19, Atlanta.
Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson said the violent nature of the crime, coupled with the victim’s youth, was “devastating.” Johnson rushed to the hospital Thursday night upon hearing news of the shooting. The teen had died before the mayor arrived.
“In the 10 years I’ve lived here, I’ve never heard of anything like this happening in Norcross,” Johnson said. “It was quite a shock.”
The Jackson family are members of Hopewell Baptist Church Norcross, which sits up the street, the mayor said. Church officials could not be reached for comment.
Johnson said he believes the victim’s father, Nicolas, built the home. County land records list a previous address for the elder Jackson on Caribaea Trail in southwest Atlanta. The family declined to speak with media Friday.
Norcross High administrators notified Jackson’s teachers of his death Thursday evening, and other faculty and staff were told early Friday morning at school. The school district’s crisis response team — a group of counselors from across the county — was on campus Friday “to speak with any student or staff member who might need assistance in coping with this loss,” said Gwinnett public schools spokesman Jorge Quintana.
A source who knows the family said Jackson has an older sister who is a junior at the high school, and a younger sister at Stripling Elementary School.
Norcross head football coach Keith Maloof recalled Jackson as having a large circle of friends. The coach said the teen made a favorable impression on others during his short time in high school.
“He was just a good overall kid. He worked hard. We never had a problem with him,” Maloof said. “He was the kind of kid you love to coach. We’re going to miss him tremendously.”
Neighbor Mike Jackson recalled seeing the teen and his siblings scurry home from the school bus each day.
“I know they’re just good people, quiet people,” Jackson said. “I’ve been here 10 years — ain’t nothing like this happened (before).”
Harr said the slaying is the first in Norcross city limits since 2009, when a mentally disturbed woman allegedly set her mother on fire with gasoline, eventually killing her.
Jackson was the fourth person shot to death in Gwinnett County in as many days this week. Other killings occurred in Lilburn and Buford.
The GBI processed the crime scene and will be preparing a report on the dynamics of what happened, Harr said.
A Gwinnett Magistrate Judge informed all six suspects of their charges during an initial appearance hearing early Friday morning. Probable cause hearings are scheduled late next week.
Sports editor Will Hammock contributed to this report.