Gordon County deputy sheriffs and detectives responded to a number of reports of property damaged by gunfire and one report of arson. Based upon forensic and video evidence, detectives quickly determined that the incidents were related. In one incident, a passenger car which had been left at a local convenience store with a flat tire was damaged in a hail of gunfire. From this scene deputies recovered spent ammunition and video recordings from surveillance cameras. Another vehicle was damaged by gunfire parked at a private residence on Covington Bridge Road in the same community.

At a third location, a dumpster was set on fire and items were stolen from a building site on Trimble Hollow Road. The suspects were also caught on video on a second camera which had been covertly emplaced on Trimble Hollow Road by Sheriff’s detectives in connection with a shooting case reported some 3 weeks earlier. Deputies and detectives canvassed the areas all week in search of the suspect and suspect vehicle. On Thursday, the detectives managed to determine the location of the suspect vehicle, a GMC Sonoma truck as well as the identity of the owner. Acting on this information, detectives have arrested Joshua Smith, age 27, of 466 Johnson Road, Calhoun, and Matthew Richards, age 30, of 772 Heritage Way, Elijay (Gilmer County).

Joshua Smith is in custody in the county jail charged with: Arson, multiple counts of Felony Criminal Damage to Property, , Reckless Conduct, Theft, and Firearms Offenses. Matthew Richards is in custody at the county jail, charged with: Arson, Felony Criminal Damage to Property (Party-To-A-Crime), Firearms Offenses, and Theft. Detectives have recovered one of the weapons believed to have been used in the shootings as well as stolen building material. The case will now be referred to the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.