Shooting victims ‘were not monsters’
by Wes Mayer
It has been almost five months since Darian Person and Gregory Marquel Anderson were killed in a shooting in Newnan, but their families are worried the two men are not being remembered in the right way.
“Darian and Marquel were not monsters,” said Latonia Person, Darian’s aunt. “They were their mothers’ and fathers’ sons. They were grandsons, brothers, uncles, nephews, cousins and friends.”
Person, 23, and Anderson, 31, were both killed in a shooting on Hill Street in late March. The next day, the suspect in the shooting, Kamikie Nechez Wilkins, 23, was found at Atlanta Medical Center, and he was arrested and charged with two counts of felony murder.
Because Wilkins was also injured in the shooting, he first underwent surgery at Atlanta Medical Center before being transported to the Coweta County Jail.
However, according to the jail’s secretary, Mylynda Smith, on July 13, Wilkins was released from the Coweta County Jail on a bond of $33,150. This really added insult to injury in the eyes of Person’s and Anderson’s families, according to Latonia Person.
Wilkins is back in the Coweta County Jail, though. On Thursday, Wilkins was arrested and charged with possession of narcotics, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and altering an ID – scratching the serial number off a firearm, said Lt. Col. Jimmy Yarbrough with the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office. Wilkins is being held without bond.
Person said the two families felt the article in The Newnan Times-Herald following the fatal shooting only focused on the negative aspects of the ordeal. The article, which was published about a week after their deaths, was derogatory and a defamation of Person’s and Anderson’s characters, she said.
“What we would like people to do is put all those thoughts out of their minds,” Person said. “We just want people to take a second and think.”
Anderson, Person said, was the father of a 3-year-old daughter whom he loved. Anderson’s daughter still doesn’t understand why her father is still asleep at the church and hasn’t come home yet, and she often asks her mother about him. Person said they just tell her God needed Anderson to come to heaven and work for Him, so that’s why he isn’t coming home.
Anderson also took pride in his music, Person said, and he hated violence and was typically a peacemaker. Anderson’s mother, Alfreda, said Marquel believed his music was his way out, and he took pride and joy in it. She hopes his music will live on and continue to be enjoyed by his fans.
Person’s mother, Lorella, was serving in the U.S. Navy at Jacksonville, Fla., when she heard the news about her oldest son, Person said. Lorella Person said Darian, or “Dariboo,” loved dressing up in nice clothing, “smelling good” and having a good time. He didn’t have any children, but all his younger nieces and nephews admired him.
Person said Darian wanted to move away from Newnan, and he and his mother looked at several General Equivalency Diploma programs in the Jacksonville area. Person wanted to pursue a career in welding, and because he loved swimming and anything to do with water, he hoped to one day become an underwater welder.
Anderson and Person were also responsible for saving the lives of a Newnan man and his child in March 2012, Person said. The two were in the area when they saw a home on North Annie Street on fire, and the two banged on the door and eventually kicked in the door to get the man and his son outside. Person said they were able to get out before the house became engulfed in flames.
“Our tears haven’t stopped since March 25, 2014, and they won’t stop for a very long time,” Person said. “We trust in God that justice will prevail, and until that time arrives, we pray that He’ll continue to bless this family with the strength to move on one day at a time, one prayer at a time, one step at a time.”