published Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Two charged in Sunday shootout in Gilmer County

By Lisana Eckenrode

ELLIJAY, Ga. — Two men are in custody charged with aggravated assault this morning after a shootout that left three people injured here Sunday.

Denis Gravely and Lloyd Silvers, with two other men, were armed when they went to the Simmons Road home of James Michael Stafford on Sunday morning to collect a debt, according to Sheriff Stacy Nicholson.

Authorities still are seeking Stafford to speak with him "as a victim/witness to the shootings," Gilmer County Sheriff's Office Capt. Frank Copeland said. They are not sure whether he still is in Gilmer County.

Two male shooting victims, Ricky Silvers and Ben Forest, remain in serious condition in the intensive care unit at Atlanta Medical Center, authorities said. Both men were flown there by helicopter with head wounds, according to authorities.

Copeland said one man suffered a "more serious" injury that required surgery.

One of the wounded was Stafford's female companion. He drove her to the North Georgia Medical Center, then abandoned his blue BMW and disappeared, Nicholson said.

Her identity has not been released, but Copeland said she was not seriously injured by the gunshot wound and may have been released from the hospital.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents and other investigators are still sorting through all of the details to try and determine a motive for the shootings.

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