published Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

Robbery, standoff, argument lead to 3 separate violent deaths in North Georgia

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    A Whitfield County sheriff's vehicle is parked in front of a Kanku's Express on Monday after a kiling at the gas station in Dalton, Ga.
    Photo by Doug Strickland.
    enlarge photo

A Dalton, Ga., gas station clerk died a bloody death around midnight Sunday when he was attacked from behind by a robber who left with cash and scratch-off lottery tickets.

The fatal attack -- possibly a stabbing, though officials weren't saying at press time -- was so swift and quiet that a handful of customers inside didn't notice.

"One [customer] left the money on the cash register and walked out," said Ron Williamson, a manager for Birva Inc., the Dalton-based company that owns the gas station where the killing occurred.

The clerk's killing was part of the bloodiest, most violent weekend of the year thus far in North Georgia.

In all, three people were slain in separate incidents.

In Chattooga County, a man was shot and killed Sunday night after authorities said he opened fire on a sheriff's deputy and the deputy returned fire.

The man who was fatally wounded has been identified as Herbert Wayne Morehead, 60, of 3887 Taliaferro Springs Road near Lyerly, Ga. The officer that was involved is identified as Deputy Robert C. Clark.

And in Walker County, a man was shot to death Saturday night by a distant cousin during an argument.

Whatever Roderick Jackson and Broderick Shropshire were arguing about Saturday night, only bullets muzzled the bickering.

Jackson showed up at Shropshire's house at 70 Wesley Drive two miles east of LaFayette around 4 p.m. to eat dinner with him and two others. The men began to argue, and Jackson poured liquor on Shropshire's face. Then, according to an arrest warrant affidavit, Jackson cornered Shropshire against the kitchen counter.

Eventually, the two men untangled without a fight -- for the moment. Shropshire bounded toward his bedroom, according to the affidavit, grabbed a .32-caliber handgun and returned to the kitchen.

Jackson and Shropshire had lived as familial foils for years. Distant cousins, Jackson was the bigger man, Sheriff Steve Wilson said, though he didn't know the two men's heights and weights. And at 30, Jackson was 21 years younger than Shropshire. Jackson lived with his grandmother in the same neighborhood as Shropshire, about a half-mile away. Jackson visited often, and the men bickered often.

But the arguments had never led to violence, at least not police-documented violence. On Saturday night, though, Shropshire brought his gun into the kitchen and told his cousin to leave. Jackson refused.

Shropshire pulled the trigger but heard only a click, he later told an investigator. He keeps just three bullets in the gun, and this time it didn't fire.

Jackson apparently didn't waver.

"Shoot me," he allegedly told his cousin.

Shropshire pulled the trigger again. This time, a bullet pierced the front of Jackson's forehead.

"What actually made him pull the trigger there in the kitchen?" Wilson said. "We're really not sure."

Shropshire is being held without bond on a murder charge. Before Saturday, the sheriff said, Shropshire had no criminal history in Walker County.

District Attorney Herbert "Buzz" Franklin, who two weeks ago declined to prosecute the shooter who killed a man with Alzheimer's disease because of Georgia's "stand your ground law," told investigators Saturday that there was enough evidence to prosecute Shropshire for murder.

But "I would expect [stand your ground] would be their defense," Franklin said Monday.

Deputy returns fire, kills shooter

On Sunday night, a Chattooga County sheriff's deputy showed up to a man's house at an unspecified location in response to a 911 call that came in at 8:50 p.m. from a house on Taliaferro Springs Road just outside Lyerly, Ga.

Witnesses told investigators that the man swerved to the side of the road as he sped by, almost hitting two people standing outside the house.

"They yelled, he yelled, then he turned around," Sheriff Mark Schrader said.

The man got into an argument with the people he allegedly almost ran down, they jotted down his license plate number, he took off, and they called the police. After running the tag number, a deputy went to the house where the car was registered.

A sheriff's office news release details what happened next.

There, Depury Robert C. Clark knocked on the suspect's door and window. Nobody answered. But the deputy soon heard footsteps, and he saw the silhouette of a man walk across one of the windows, toward the back of the house.

Clark heard a back door swing open, and then he heard a man screaming. Morehead walked around the corner of the house, SKS-style semiautomatic carbine in hand, toward the deputy.

Morehead fired once at the deputy. He missed. Put your gun down, the deputy told him.

Instead the man aimed his gun at the deputy again, and this time the deputy fired. He killed Morehead with one shot.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into the shooting, and Schrader said he does not want to provide any further details about the shooting until that process is complete. Clark has been suspended with pay.

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    Store photograph of suspect involved in store robbery at Kanku's Express in Whitfield County, Ga.
    Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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    The suspect has been identified and arrest warrants have been issued for Skyy Mims, age 21, for murder and armed robbery at Kanku’s Express on Airport Road. Her last known address is Detroit, Mich. The subject should be considered armed and dangerous. Anyone having contact with Mimis is requested to contact law enforcement immediately. It is unknown if the suspect is still in the Dalton-Whitfield County area.
    Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

'Always smiling'

The suspect in the Dalton, Ga., gas station stabbing has been identified and arrest warrants have been issued for Skyy Mims, 21, for murder and armed robbery. Her last known address is Detroit, Mich. The subject should be considered armed and dangerous.

Anyone having contact with Mims is requested to contact law enforcement immediately. It is unknown if the suspect is still in the Dalton-Whitfield County area.

The attack took place at the deli at the gas station's front counter. The clerk had come out from behind the counter for some reason, said Williamson, the manager. The county 911 center got a call at 11:59 p.m. Sunday from a customer who went into the gas station and found the clerk lying on the floor, a sheriff's news release stated. Investigators from the sheriff's office took the store's surveillance video for review.

Williamson identified the clerk by his nickname, "Dicky." 37-year-old Dahyabhai Kalidas Chaudmari had worked for only a few weeks at the gas station, Hi-Tech Fuel, formerly Kanku's Express, at 3385 Airport Road.

Chaudmari was from Gujarat, India, a prosperous state of about 60 million people known for its entrepreneurship.

His smile was something that Williamson remembered. Dicky didn't have any enemies, he said.

"He was super, super nice. Always smiling," Williamson said.

The robber grabbed the clerk by the mouth from behind and struck him repeatedly, likely with a knife, Williamson said.

"There was definitely enough blood [for the clerk] to be stabbed," Williamson said. "Whoever this was, he was intent on killing him to start with."

Staff writer Ben Benton contributed to this story.

Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at tomarzu@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6651.

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at tjett@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6476.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

about Tim Omarzu...

Tim Omarzu covers Catoosa and Walker counties for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California. Stories he's covered include crime in blighted parts of metro Detroit and Reno, Nev.; environmental activists tree-sitting in California's Sierra Nevada foothills; attempts by the Michigan Militia to take over a township¹s government in northern Michigan. A native of Michigan, ...

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