Officials with the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) say the suspects, Larry Redding, Andre Demond Burton and Janay Charise Wilson, all 17, of Henry County, parked in a strip mall across the highway from the convenience store at approximately 10:30 p.m.
Redding and Burton are then alleged to have covered their faces with masks and approached Tony’s One Stop, robbing one customer at gunpoint in the parking lot, before entering the store.
Once inside, investigators say one suspect went after the cash register as the second suspect robbed four customers.
“One got the cash register and one got the customers,” said Capt. Tony Ranieri, chief investigator in the Criminal Investigation Division of the SCSO. “The one jumped the counter as the other was robbing the customers. It all went down quick.”
Witnesses, as well as one suspect, have told investigators that Burton was at the time of the theft threatening the lives of the robbery victims.
As a result, as the suspects were approaching the door, Harvil brandished a weapon of his own, jumped the counter and opened fire on the two alleged perpetrators.
“We believe the clerk may have fired first and the two perpetrators then returned fire,” Ranieri said. “The bullet took off one of his (Harvil’s) fingers. That deflected the bullet so it grazed his head - it didn’t enter his head.”
Harvil was transported by helicopter to the trauma unit of Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, where he was treated and then released Thursday afternoon.
“I’m sure the clerk feared for his life, as well as the lives of the other customers in the store,” Ranieri said. “We received a statement from one of the suspects that one did want to start shooting and that was made clear in the store - that’s why the clerk did what he did. They had gotten what they wanted - they had the money. There was no reason to start shooting.”
Officials say Redding and Burton then crossed U.S. Highway 19/41 to the parking lot, where Wilson was waiting in a car for them. The three then allegedly left the scene, driving toward Henry County.
Because Harvil was certain he had wounded one of the suspects, investigators notified area hospitals in the event the perpetrators sought medical treatment.
“We were later notified by the Clayton County Police Department that two people were dropped off at Southern Regional, one with a gunshot wound to the hand,” Ranieri said.
As the CCPD secured Redding and Burton in the emergency room, a search of the hospital parking lot was performed, resulting in the apprehension of Wilson.
According to Ranieri, wallets belonging to the robbery victims, cash and one firearm were recovered.
With additional information provided by one of the suspects, Ranieri said the Pike/Spalding County Underwater Evidence Recovery Team was on Thursday afternoon deployed to the area of Georgia Highway 20 in Henry County between Rocky Creek Road and the Publix grocery store, in search of a second firearm believed to have been used in the attack.
Though only 17, the suspects each are charged as adults with robbery, aggravated assault, kidnapping and use of a firearm in the commission of a crime.
“It’s like the criminal element is getting younger by the day,” Ranieri said. “But once they turn 17, it’s time for big boy and big girl court.”