PTC charges 4 teens for gang-related armed carjacking

Video still from a police patrol unit depicts the moment of capture of teenaged hijacking suspects after a 100-mph-plus chase beginning Saturday in the Peachtree City Walmart’s parking lot. Photo/Peachtree City Police Department.

Four teens from Palmetto, Union City and Atlanta, ranging in age from 14 to 16, are in custody following an armed hijacking Saturday afternoon in the Walmart parking lot in Peachtree City.

A high speed chase along Ga. Highway 74, Interstate 85 and Interstate 285 had officers pursuing the suspect vehicle traveling at approximately 100 miles per hour.

Peachtree City Police spokesman Mark Brown said Zaviaire Baitley, 16, of 2281 Country Club Drive in Atlanta, will be held at a regional youth detention center under the charges of felony attempt to elude, armed robbery, hijacking a motor vehicle, participation in a criminal street gang, illegal drug possession and numerous traffic charges.

Investigators on Saturday night arrested 16-year-old Demetrious Watson, of Shaggy Hickory Trail, Palmetto, and Nathan Gullatte, 16, of Phipps Road, Palmetto. Both were charged with armed robbery, hijacking a motor vehicle and participation in a criminal street gang, Brown said.

Michael Long, 14, of Lower Dixie Lake Road in Union City was arrested July 7 and charged with armed robbery, hijacking a motor vehicle and participation in a criminal street gang, Brown said.

Brown said the armed hijacking occurred as the driver of the vehicle was getting out of her car. The driver remained at the scene after the hijacking and was unharmed, Brown added. A preliminary investigation revealed that the hijacker was armed with a pistol and confronted the victim in the parking lot demanding her property and vehicle, said Brown.

Brown said officers rushed to the Walmart parking lot on Saturday at approximately 2:30 p.m. As officers responded to the scene, other officers set up a perimeter at the major intersections of the city.

Minutes later officers located the hijacker driving the stolen vehicle traveling northbound on Hwy. 74 from Hwy. 54, Brown said. The vehicle failed to yield to the officers and a vehicle pursuit was initiated. With the assistance of the Tyrone Police, Fairburn Police, Fayette County Sheriff, and the Fulton County Police, the suspect was pursued northbound on Hwy. 74 to Interstate I-85.

Brown said the offender avoided “Stop Sticks” deployed by the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office in the area of Hwy. 74 at Milam Road and kept driving northbound on Hwy. 74. From I-85 northbound, the pursuit continued on Interstate 285. The suspect crashed into another vehicle while exiting the interstate at the intersection of Cascade Road and I-285, where he was taken into custody, said Brown.

The suspects in attempting to elude officers were traveling at rates 100 miles per hour along Hwy. 74, I-85 and I-285 and showed a lack of regard for motorists on the roadways, Brown said.

The Peachtree City Police Department thanked the Tyrone Police, Fairburn Police, Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, and the Fulton County Police for their assistance in apprehending the suspect.

If anyone has information that would assist the police department in this or any other incidents please contact 770-487-8866 or submit an anonymous tip at www.peachtree-city.org/police “Crime Tips.”