LAWRENCEVILLE -- Scuttlebutt around the neighborhood is that it all started over a piece of candy.
Whatever the impetus, Lawrenceville police say 19-year-old Jamaree Priest punched another teen so hard this month, the victim ended up in a medically induced coma.
Police are still searching for Priest, who is charged with aggravated battery by disfiguring in the May 5 incident on Honeysuckle Drive in Lawrenceville. He allegedly walked up and decked 15-year-old Damon McQueen so hard it knocked him unconscious and caused his brain to swell.
McQueen's mother, Shaleesha Hollis, of Lawrenceville, said Wednesday that her son continues to take anti-seizure medication after suffering multiple seizures after the punch. McQueen was in a medically induced coma for longer that 24 hours to allow swelling in his brain to subside. More scans are pending, but Hollis said surgeons have told her that her son may struggle with seizure for the rest of his life.
"He is recovering, slowly but surely," Hollis said of the Moore Middle School eighth-grader, whose injuries kept him from completing the school year.
Another teen with Priest at the time said Priest lashed out because the victim "had been messing with one of (Priest's) friends," the report states.
Hollis said her son does not recall the incident and does not know Priest. A fried with McQueen at the time witnessed the assault and identified Priest as the culprit, according to a police report.
Word around the neighborhood is that Priest was initially peeved about a piece of candy, and things escalated from there, Hollis said.
"It could have been mistaken identity, or he-said, she-said stuff," Hollis said. "Evidently someone told this (Priest) guy something."
Lawrenceville police spokesman Capt. Greg Vaughn said leads have run out as to Priest's whereabouts. Police spoke with Priest's godmother in Buford, who told them he stays in Gainesville at times and with his mother in California.
"She stated that he comes and goes and lives from place to place," an officer wrote in the report.
Priest is described as a black male, about 6 feet, 1 inch tall with a slim build and puffy hair.