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Ex-husband suspected in East Point shootings

[The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: 4.25.2001]

Joshua B. Good
Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Writer

East Point police today arrested the ex-husband of a state probation officer who was shot as she sat in her car Tuesday.

Police Chief Frank Brown said William Charles Lewis, 42, of DeKalb County has been charged with aggravated assault in the shooting of Rosa M. Lewis, and is a suspect in four other recent shootings in the south Fulton County city.

Brown called the relationship between Rosa Lewis and her ex-husband "very turbulent."

In 1996, Rosa Lewis filed a family violence complaint in DeKalb County Superior Court, asking for a restraining order against her husband, court records show. The couple separated in August and she filed for divorce late last year.

The divorce was finalized March 2, the day after Rosa Lewis' colleague, Cynthia Floyd Rolle, 51, was shot four times and killed in her car in the driveway of her East Point home.

Rosa Lewis remained in critical condition today at Grady Memorial Hospital.

Police said the sight of a new car speeding away from the scene of Tuesday's shooting in East Point was the first good lead police had in a series of five unsolved shootings.

Moments after Rosa Lewis was shot at 1:15 a.m. Tuesday, a neighbor saw a new blue Nissan Altima drive away. The neighbor told police the car's headlights were off and the driver's head was clean shaven.

In all, two people have been killed and two others injured since March 1. In an incident police believe was related to the four shootings, someone fired on a house on Linwood Avenue April 12.

At three of the shooting scenes, someone left a note telling police to count the bodies. Of the five shootings, Lewis, 40, is the second probation officer to be shot.

Both Rosa Lewis and Rolle were shot with .40-caliber bullets, according to their Probation Department supervisor. Police are still waiting for ballistic tests to see whether they were shot with the same gun.

Lewis was shot while in her car, which she had just parked outside her apartment at the Brookfield complex at 3072 Washington Road. Neighbors heard four shots and police found four shell casings. Lewis was hit at least three times, Brown said.

One neighbor said he saw someone run out of the apartment complex toward West Farris Avenue. He said he did not get a good look at the person. Someone driving a new blue Nissan Altima squealed around the corner of West Farris Avenue and sped down Delowe Avenue toward Washington Road, a witness told police.

Part of the investigation will look at the 220 clients that Lewis supervised and the 400 Rolle kept track of, said Doug Cloud, the chief probation officer who supervised both women. He said Rolle and Lewis were friendly probation officers who supervised low-level felons. Cloud said Rolle often counseled Rosa Lewis.

Neither had received any threats, he said. "When you've got a thug that wants to come in and hurt you, it's hard to protect yourself," Cloud said this afternoon as he stood next to the spot where Lewis was shot.

Lewis and Rolle were two of 15 probation officers in the department's Atlanta Judicial Circuit's South Case Management Unit. Rolle was authorized to carry a gun, but Lewis was not. In Georgia, about 863 state probation officers oversee 128,328 probationers, 90 percent of whom have felony charges.

Brown also would not say what evidence police have that leads them to believe all five shooting incidents may be linked.

The threatening notes were left at the scene of the April 8 slaying of Antonio Stephney; the April 8 shooting of Roger Orr, who survived; and the April 12 shooting incident at a Linwood Avenue house.

Brown would not say what caliber of handgun was used in the three shootings where notes were found.

No note was found at the scene of the two probation officers' shootings, Brown said.

East Point detectives checked with other agencies, but so far, the shootings, at least where notes have been left, seem to be isolated to East Point.

Brown switched all East Point police officers from eight-hour to 12-hour shifts to beef up the number of cops on the street.

Lewis has two sons and was studying at Georgia State University for a degree in either sociology or criminal justice.

"Miss Lewis, she spent most of her time at church or going to school," Cloud said.

Staff writer Ernie Suggs contributed to this article.

$10,000 reward offered in arson that killed 3
Sandra Eckstein - Staff
Thursday, April 19, 2001

Someone set the fire that killed three small children in an East Point trailer last month, and city officials are hoping a $10,000 reward will lead to the arsonist.

Twins Shawn and Christopher Boone, 2, and Taylor Boone, 8 months, were killed March 16 after they were left alone in their home in the Longview Trailer Park.

The fire occurred shortly after the babies' father, Corey Evans, fought with three men in the area.

The children's mother, Lisa Boone, told police she left her children asleep in the trailer when she went to look for her husband. Evans had gone to find the men who beat him, said East Point police Capt. Patricia Boyce.

Lisa Boone has been charged with reckless conduct for leaving the children alone.

East Point Fire Chief David Hawkins said the fire started inside the trailer, in the kitchen. He said no accelerant was used to start the blaze, but combustibles such as paper or trash were found. He said investigators looking into the cause of the fire took so long because they wanted to rule out accidental causes, including the water heater, the oven, electrical wiring and the gas line.

Three men were arrested a week after the fire and charged with battery in Evans' beating. Anthony Mattox, Monroe Tolbert Jr. and Kenneth Bryson, all of East Point, are free on bond.

Maj. Luther Graham said police are still investigating the fire and questioning suspects and witnesses. He said police do not have enough evidence to charge anyone, although they have several suspects.

Graham and Hawkins said they hope a $10,000 reward will bring in more witnesses. It is offered by the state Arson Control Board, a group of property and casualty insurance companies that work with the state fire marshal to offer rewards for the arrest and conviction of people who commit arson.

"We're sure there are people down there that have information, but they're just not coming forward," Hawkins said. "You'd think, with three children dead, their conscience would bother them."

Anyone with information can call the state Arson Hotline at 1-800-282-5804. Tipsters can remain anonymous. Individuals also may call the East Point Fire Department at 404-765-1120 or the East Point Police Department at 404-765- 1113 or 404-765-1119.  

Southside Notes: East Point meets the challenge

BYLINE: Rochelle Carter, Sandra Eckstein, STAFF
DATE: 04-12-2001
PUBLICATION: The Atlanta Journal and Constitution
SECTION: South Fulton Extra

East Point is one of the first winners of cash prizes in the Mayors' Challenge to Buckle Up America, sponsored by the National Conference of Black MayorsInc.

This initiative kicked off last spring in partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. East Point Mayor Patsy Jo Hilliard was one of five members to receive plaques for successful local campaigns to increase seat belt and child safety seat usage. A $3,000 award has been paid to the city.

The NCBM said it took on the issue because African-Americans are not using seat belts as they should. According to the NCBM, more than half of the 41,000 motor vehicle fatalities last year involved people who were not wearing seat belts. African-Americans are up to 50 percent less likely to buckle their seat belts than whites. Because of the disparity, black children ages 5 to 12 are three times as likely as white children to be killed in a motor vehicle crash, the group says.



City of East Point Announces 2000 Crime Statistics

Total Crime Drops 5 Percent; Crime Rate Lowest in 10 Years


EAST POINT, GA, Feb. 2001 - The City of East Point's efforts at redevelopment and reinvestment got another boost today as the East Point Police Department released encouraging crime statistics for 2000.

The statistics showed an overall drop of 5.7 percent in total crimes to 1,953, the lowest number since uniform statistics have been kept. The statistics include homicides, rape, robbery, aggravated assaults, burglaries, felony thefts and vehicle thefts, and are classified by uniform crime report (UCR) standards.

"A variety of factors contributed to our fourth consecutive year of lower crime, but our relationship with the community is the key to effective law enforcement", said Chief Frank L. Brown. "Community policing and Strict enforcement of all laws - even minor infractions - have made East Point one of metro Atlanta's safest communities."

In 1999, East Pointy s crime rate of.102 crimes per person was lower than most of its neighboring cities and several north Georgia communities, including Forest Park (.119 crimes per person), Rome (.105) and Alpharetta (.12). Chief Brown said he expects similar results when the FBI's final statistics are released for 2000.

The most noticeable declines were a 25 percent decrease in homicides (from eight to six), a 29 percent decrease in incidents of rape (from 38 to 27) and a 43 percent decrease in felony thefts (from 339 to 194).

Property crimes - vehicle thefts, burglaries, other thefts - have decreased by a third since the city began its community policing initiative in 1996, which is geared towards interaction with and education of the community before crimes are committed. Four of the division's most innovative programs are detailed below:

· Juvenile Diversions: In 1997, city police began picking up truants and holding them at the police office. As a condition for dropping charges, many truants were expected to complete the juvenile diversions program, which included learning the United States Bill of Rights, researching current events and local history and civics and participating in after-school athletic and cultural events. Property crimes by juveniles have decreased 62 percent since the program began.

· Focus on Community Groups: East Point officers regularly participate in community group meetings in 14 neighborhoods. According to Chief Brown, this interaction helps officers get to know local citizens and their concerns, and it also helps residents understand the role of the police in the neighborhood.

· Beat Changes: Almost three years ago, the department switched its officers to smaller beats with an emphasis on patrolling residential streets as well as major arteries. This change has reinforced the department's relationship with the community, according to Major Allen Knight, who oversees the uniformed officer division.

· Weed and Seed: East Point has aggressively implemented this multi-agency program, aimed at "weeding target neighborhoods of violent crime, gang activity and the street-level drug trade and "seeding communities through social and economic revitalization. Cooperation with and empowerment of private citizens and agencies is a cornerstone of the program.

The only disappointing crime statistic was an increase in aggravated assaults, which went from 158 to 276 between 1999 and 2000. Chief Brown said new enforcement efforts might have actually inflated these numbers.

"We have added an officer to deal with domestic violence, so more of these cases are being accurately reported than in the past, perhaps causing an uptick in the statistics, said Chief Brown. "Preventing assaults and other person crimes are obviously a very important focus for our department.

The East Point Police Department is one of three departments in Georgia that received full state accreditation in 2000. The department was named one of the National Police Foundation's 25 best agencies nationwide in 2000, and has been honored by both the National League of Cities (in 1998) and the Atlanta Crime Commission (in 2000) for its community policing efforts.

East Point is a community of 45,000 residents located in south Fulton County. With easy access to MARTA, Hartsfield International Airport and numerous major thoroughfares, the community seeks to become the modern version of the traditional town - a place where history is respected, neighborhoods are preserved and people of all races and religions are welcome.

Contacts: Chief Frank Brown                                                             Brian Brodrick

City of East Point Police Department                                                Jackson Spalding

(404) 765-1104                                                                                   (404) 724-2513

fbrown@eastpointcity.org                                                                  bbrodrick@jacksonspalding.com

East Point Has Decrease In Crime

Chief attributes drop to targeting truancy, community involvement


By Cicely Bland

South Fulton Neighbor News Editor


Residents in East Point can sleep easier knowing they are among the safest in the metro Atlanta area —if recently released police statistics are accurate. East Point Police Department crime statistics for the year 2000 show the city’s lowest crime rate in 10 years. The most dramatic part of the decrease has come since 1996 under the administration of Chief Frank L Brown.

In 1996, East Point major crimes such as bur­glary, robbery, aggravated assault, murder, rape, and vehicle theft totaled 2,711. They decreased steadily over the years and now the total crime number is 1,953, statistics show.

East Point Mayor Patsy Jo Hilliard attributed the substantial drop in serious crimes to the commit­ment of the city’s police officers, community polic­ing and Brown’s leadership.

“Chief Brown is truly a visionary. He prepares for things before they happen and he does preventive work to ensure safety," said Mrs. Hilliard. "We have to give him credit for the decline in crime in our city."

In comparison to other cities in Georgia, East Point, surprisingly, has lower overall major crime statistics than Alpharetta, Rome, Riverdale and Waycross, the mayor said.

“East Point is the third largest city in Fulton County," Hilliard added. “So we can really set an ex­ample for everybody. Everybody comes through East Point going to the busiest airport in the world and we want them to feel safe.”

Brown said he believes targeting truancy, inno­vative police programs and community involve­ment is the reason why serious crimes in East Point are comparatively low.

Another problem affecting crime in East Point was juvenile truancy. Brown said that by targeting students who wouldn’t attend school, auto thefts and burglary remarkably decreased.

“Previously, kids would take off from the schools in the mornings and pilfer and steal from cars and houses,” said Brown. “At first; we would take the children back to the schools. Then we realized we would see the same children in the streets the next day. Now we bring them to the station for the par­ents to pickup.”

The East Point Police Department also has in­stalled programs for juveniles to deter criminal ac­tivity such as the Police Athletic Leagues which in­cludes football, basketball, baseball, track and field, wrestling, boxing and cheerleading. Brown said a substantial number of at-risk children are now honor roll students as a result of participating in PAL programs.

Of all of the programs implemented by the po­lice department, Brown added that “Operation Weed and Seed” has been the most helpful in re­ducing crime. The program consists of four parts:  law enforcement; community policing; prevention, intervention and treatment.

Decals to help police spot stolen cars

BYLINE: Jack Warner
DATE: 11-05-1998
SECTION: Newspapers_&_Newswires


The CAT has come to Georgia, and East Point Detective G.J. Roberson is hoping the anti-car theft program will catch on everywhere in the state.

CAT, which stands for Combat Auto Theft, is a simple, inexpensive program that is especially useful to the elderly, Roberson said.

It's tailored for people who rarely drive their cars between 1 and 5 a.m. When enrolling in the CAT program --- which costs nothing --- car owners get decals for the front and back windows of their autos.

The luminescent decals, each with a serial number registered to the car, are a signal to peace officers that they can pull over the car between 1 and 5 a.m. Normally, officers cannot stop cars unless they see traffic or equipment violations or have good reason to suspect criminal activity

Enrolling in the program, Roberson said, doesn't mean that a CAT member can't drive during those hours. If stopped, the owner need only produce a valid driver's license and an insurance card to prove ownership of the vehicle.

If the driver doesn't have that information, police will investigate further to determine whether the car is being used with the owner's permission.

The program's expense to the city is limited to minimal costs for printing the decals and for fliers, and officers hope it will help cut down on the city's rising auto theft problem.

"East Point had 684 auto thefts last year," Roberson said. "We've already had 688 just through August of this year."

"Senior citizens are really big targets here in East Point," said Sgt. Trudy Boyce. The city is home to several large retirement facilities.

In some states, such as New York, Texas, Virginia and Illinois, the CAT program is statewide. Federal grants are available to help get it established, Roberson said, but they can be made only to a state agency, not to local departments.

So far, he said, neither the state patrol nor the GBI, the most likely candidates for seeking the grant, has expressed interest. Neither is directly charged with combating auto theft.

"We need somebody in the state to pick up on this," the detective said, pointing out that a statewide program would be far more effective than scattered local projects.

So far, the only other Georgia agency involved in CAT is the Decatur Police Department, where the joint database of registered cars will be stored.

Residents can call Roberson at 404-765-1117 to make arrangements for enrollment in the CAT program.