One or more suspects forcibly entered a Jonesboro, Georgia home on Saturday, October 22, and shot and killed two children during the incident. Other children, between ages 6 and 15, were also present at the time of the crime. They were unharmed.
The two victims have been identified as 15-year-old Daveon Coates and 11-year-old Tatiyana Coates, who were brother and sister as well as the only casualties. The home invasion occurred early in the morning on Saturday, according to NBC News. Police aren’t sure if just one suspect is involved or more, and, after obtaining a search warrant, have been combing the house for clues. They especially have been searching for evidence of stolen items, though it remains unclear whether or not this was a robbery gone wrong.
No Suspects Yet in the Home Invasion/Murder Case
So far there are very few details, but events appear to have unfolded in an alarmingly quick manner. Around 5 a.m. on Saturday morning, one of the unharmed children called the emergency number to report what had happened. One or more armed suspects forced entry through the front door of the house at Libby Lane, shot and killed the two Coates children, and then fled. Police are still gathering information on who the intruder(s) might be as well as the motive, though they suspect from initial investigations that the crime was not random, according to The Huffington Post.
The children, possibly all residents from two cohabitating families, were home alone while their parents were out, according to the NY Daily News. The parents of the victims are not considered suspects at this time. They were reportedly out socializing at a different location when the tragedy occurred.
Investigators have been interviewing the children to get descriptions of the intruder(s), according to NY Daily News. Everyone involved in the case is shaken up. The Clayton County police chief summarized the violent crime when he stated bluntly, “It’s tragic. It’s senseless.”
The Neighbors Give Their Take
Neighbors also heard gunshots, and were quick to call the police, according to CBS News. One neighbor described the family in question as generally friendly, saying he sometimes exchanged pleasantries with the kids when they were outside playing basketball. According to this neighbor, the family has lived in the home for about 2 or 3 months.
Jonesboro, Georgia is a small city in Clayton County, some 20 miles south of Atlanta. It has fewer than 5,000 residents in total, and is not known for being a high-crime area. Why the house was a target, who the perpetrators were, and why the children were shot and killed remains a mystery so far.
According to statistics reported by the Department of Justice, from 2003 to 2007, offenders were known to their victims in violent home burglaries 63 percent of the time. Just 28 percent of victims did not know the perpetrators beforehand. In the same time span, there were over 3.7 million burglaries or home invasions each year in the United States.