CRIME ACROSS GEORGIA: GBI probes 2 officer involved shootings, 2 murder suspects


GBI investigates fatal officer-involved shooting in Rockdale County

Rockdale County, GA (August 9, 2023) — The GBI is investigating an officer involved shooting in Rockdale County, Georgia. The Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office (RCSO) asked the GBI to conduct an independent investigation on August 9, 2023. One man was killed during the incident.

No officers were injured. No Rockdale officers were involved in the incident, the GBI said.

Preliminary information indicates that at about 10:40 p.m., Walton County deputies attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a person driving a 2001 GMC Yukon that had cancelled insurance. The driver of the Yukon, Charles Rice, 31, of Covington, refused to stop the SUV and accelerated away from deputies. Deputies pursued Rice into Rockdale County where they performed a precision immobilization technique (PIT) near 4300 Haralson Mill Rd.

Once the GMC came to a rest, Rice got out of the SUV and ran. Deputies tased Rice, who pulled a firearm from his waistband. Rice fired his weapon at deputies. The deputies returned fire, hitting Rice and killing him. A female passenger in the Yukon was not injured.

Rice had active felony arrest warrants at the time of the incident.

Once the investigation is complete, the case will be given to the Rockdale County District Attorney’s Office for review.

This is the 63rd officer involved shooting the GBI has been requested to investigate in 2023.

GBI investigates officer involved shooting in Adairsville, GA that wounded suspect

Adairsville, GA (August 9, 2023) — The GBI is investigating an officer involved shooting in Adairsville, GA. The Adairsville Police Department requested the GBI conduct an independent investigation. One man was shot and is in critical condition. No officers were injured.

Preliminary information shows that on August 8, 2023, at around 1:45 p.m., the Adairsville Police Department, Bartow County Sheriff’s Office, and Georgia State Patrol received an active shooter BOLO for a blue Chevy Silverado pickup truck driven by Courtney Wilkerson, age 43, of Calhoun, GA.

Earlier that day, Wilkerson shot at employees inside Mannington Mills in Calhoun, GA. Wilkerson then drove to Adairsville, where Adairsville Police Department officers, Bartow County Sheriff’s Office deputies, and Georgia State Patrol troopers spotted the truck and began to chase Wilkerson.

Wilkerson started shooting at the officers during the chase. On highway 140 NW near I-75, in Adairsville, GA, Wilkerson ran into the rear of a Basic Ready Mix cement mixer, causing Wilkerson’s truck to careen into a vacant lot next to the BP gas station. Wilkerson then continued shooting at the officers, who returned fire, critically injuring Wilkerson.

Wilkerson received immediate medical attention and was taken to WellStar Kingstone Hospital. He is in critical condition at this time.

The GBI will conduct an independent investigation. Once complete, the case file will be given to the Bartow County District Attorney’s Office for review. Per the district attorney’s office, no body camera or dash camera footage will be released until this case is adjudicated.

Two men arrested in Rabun County murder investigation

Clayton, GA (August 8, 2023) — The GBI and the Rabun County Sheriff’s Office are conducting a murder investigation. Keegan Cleve Phillips, age 23, of Otto, North Carolina, has been charged with murder. Robert Lee Peppers, age 62, of Lula, Georgia has been charged with concealing a death and unlawful disposal of a body.

On Sunday, August 6, 2023, the GBI regional investigative office in Cleveland was requested by the Rabun County Sheriff’s Office to assist them in a murder investigation. The Rabun County Sheriff’s Office received information that a man killed a person and disposed of the body in Rabun County, Georgia. Based on the information received, agents and deputies found the body of the victim on Monday, August 7, 2023, in the Chattahoochee – Oconee National Forest.

Today, the GBI, the Rabun County Sheriff’s Office, the Banks County Sheriff’s Office, the Hall County Sheriff’s Office, the Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office, and the Georgia State Patrol conducted an extensive search in the area of Gillsville Highway, Hall County, Georgia. Police found Phillips and arrested him without incident. Phillips is being held at the Rabun County Detention Center. Peppers is currently in custody in the Rabun County Detention Center as well.

The investigation is ongoing. Once the case is done, it will be given to the Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.