Grand jury indicts local gang member in shooting cases

August 19 – A Milledgeville gang member was recently indicted by a Baldwin County grand jury in connection with a shooting and other crimes.

The Union-Recorder has learned that the same defendant is also facing similar charges in Putnam County and remains under investigation in a double murder case that occurred on June 20, 2021 at a government housing complex in Eatonton.

He also remains a suspect in an unrelated murder case that occurred in Baldwin County.

The four-count indictment charges Xavier Rashad Chambers with one count of aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and two counts of violation of the Georgia Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act, according to prosecutors. Records filed in Baldwin County. Secretary of the Superior Court.

Grand jury members were presented with the Baldwin County case in the form of a special presentation by Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office Detective Michael “Chris” Burrell, court records show.

When Chambers was indicted in Baldwin County, he had already been indicted on similar charges in Putnam County.

Several months ago, a Putnam County grand jury also returned a four-count indictment against Chambers on two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of violation of the Georgia Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act, court records show.

Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit District Attorney T. Wright Barksdale III said investigations are still looking into a connection to the murder cases in Baldwin and Putnam counties.

The Baldwin County homicide case claimed the life of Wydeldric Denson, Barksdale said.

That shooting occurred on August 9, 2019, at a residence in the 1900 block of Karen Circle in Milledgeville.

“Then fast forward to spring 2020,” Barksdale said. “And Chambers is out on bail and on June 15, 2021, he allegedly shoots Timothy Bell.”

Bell suffered a gunshot wound to one of his arms.

That crime stemmed from a drive-by shooting, the district attorney said.

“Before the police could solve that case, on June 20, 2021, the Putnam County case on Lawson Drive occurred,” Barksdale said. “What it kicks off is that Çhambers is in Eatonton at the housing project that morning. He (Chambers) allegedly confronts Rashad Daniel and Jeremiah Walton and accuses them of breaking into his car.”

Chambers reportedly pulled a gun on Daniel and Walton.

“He (Chambers) allegedly put on a red ski mask and identified himself as a member of a Blood gang, and threatened to shoot them,” Barksdale said. “The important thing about that is that these two young people go to their mothers and tell them that a man in the project pointed a gun at them and had threatened them.”

Based on evidence reviewed by the district attorney regarding that case, there were several phone calls that one of the mothers made to an older son, who is a member of a gang in Walton County.

“He and several of his friends drive up from Walton County and surround the residence where Chambers is at,” Barksdale said. “They surround the house. And there’s pole-mounted video camera footage of probably 200 people surrounding this house.”

The district attorney said some of the video camera surveillance footage shows that several of those surrounding the residence where Chambers was visiting at the time were armed with firearms.

“The Eatonton Police Department ends up receiving a phone call around 6 p.m. on June 20, 2021, from the house where Chambers is at the time,” Barksdale said. “The EPD officers show up and question some of the people outside. They tried to question Chambers, but he and others who were inside at the time refused to open the door for the police.”

A short time later, the police officers left the scene.

After the police left, the back door of the residence was kicked in.

“The frame was literally kicked away from the door,” Barksdale said.

The district attorney explained that a group, believed to be from Walton County, was responsible.

“Chambers then opens the door and allegedly shoots two people, including the Walton boy,” Barksdale said. “Almost simultaneously, these guys from Walton County, who video surveillance footage already showed us were armed, start opening fire.”

Both victims died at the scene. They were identified as 16-year-old Roman Felton Rowell and Jeremiah DeSean Walton, both of Eatonton.

He noted that there were random shots fired where Chambers was inside the residence.

The bullets damaged cars and different buildings inside the government housing project.

“There is video of multiple people shooting,” Barksdale said.

He said officers from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Region 6 Office in Milledgeville were later called by the Eatonton Police Department to investigate the shooting.

Barksdale said one of those killed was on parole for shooting at a Putnam County home. That was Roman Rowell, who is seen in the video wearing a balaclava.

“And he had a gun on him at the time he was shot and killed,” Barksdale said.

The 16-year-old reportedly did not have any kind of criminal record.

“He didn’t that I know of,” Barksdale said.

When it comes to bringing the double murder case to a grand jury for a possible indictment against Chambers, Barksdale said he needed additional evidence.

“I have a causality problem right now,” he said. “You have to answer whether or not the shootings were justified. And I have to follow the law and the evidence.”

Barksdale said he has asked the GBI to continue investigating the double murder case.