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Jeremiah Nelson

Name:
Nelson, Jeremiah Donavan

Date of Booking:
08/01/2022 

Reason(s) For Booking:
Possession of a Schedule I Controlled Substance

Possession of a Pistol or Revolver by Person Under 18 YOA-2nd or Subsequent Offense

Possession and Use of Drug Related Objects

Possession of a Schedule I or II Controlled Substance w/ Intent to Distribute

Reckless Conduct

Possession of a Pistol or Revolver by Person Under 18 YOA-1st Offense

Officer’s Narrative:
[Please note: The following is a direct transcription from the official initial incident report. The Georgia Gazette does not fix any spelling or grammatical errors that may exist. Any changes or redactions made by our staff are placed inside brackets. Some errors may exist. All subjects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The topics discussed may be sensitive to some readers. Discretion is advised.]


On August 1, 2022 around 7:16 PM, I, K9 Corporal Stokes, responded to the report of a male brandishing a firearm at Cumberland Oaks Apartments located at [100 BLOCK] Mary Powell Drive, St. Marys, Georgia 31558 (Camden County). I responded in marked patrol vehicle 705 without the use of lights and siren.

The caller stated that there was an altercation between her daughter and a male named Jeremiah Nelson. The caller, Ms. [WITNESS #1], told the Dispatch Center that her daughter told here that someone she knows to be Jeremiah Nelson pulled a gun on her. Ms. [WITNESS #1] gathered this information by telephone from her daughter. She also stated Nelson would be in a silver Ford Mustang.

Upon my arrival, I drove directly to the [REDACTED] Building in the apartment complex where the altercation occurred. Cpl. Hoster (SMPD 129), Officer Bishop (SMPD 130), and I could not locate any signs or witnesses of an altercation in that area. As law enforcement cleared the call, I noticed a Ford Mustang parked in front of the [REDACTED] Building. I also observed four young males sitting on the stairs in the breezeway of the [REDACTED] Building.

I made my way to that location and noticed a Ford Mustang parked nearby and thought that might be the vehicle involved. As I approached the men on the stairs, I noticed one of the men to be Jeremiah Nelson. Mr. Nelson is known to me from previous law enforcement encounters. Based on the nature of the call involving a firearm, I unholstered my department issued Glock 45 9mm and gave the males loud, clear, verbal commands to put their hands in the air and remain visible at all times.

The males were given commands to place their hands on the building wall until a pat down could be conducted to ensure no firearms were concealed. Once I determined that the males were unarmed, they were separated and positively identified. After asking questions to witnesses and residents, it was determined that one of the males detained was not part of the altercation and was released.

The three males detained were Jeremiah Nelson, Colton Jeffery May, and [REDACTED BY AGENCY]. The silver Mustang described in the incident was operated by Mr. May. Mr. May was informed of his Miranda rights and said he would speak with me.

I asked Mr. May about an alleged incident that recently took place in the area where Jeremiah Nelson may have used a gun involving a female. Mr. May said he didn’t know anything about a gun or Jeremiah possessing one, but he did state there was an altercation between Jeremiah and some females over money. I asked if he witnessed any of the altercations, and he said just the beginning but walked away because he didn’t want any part of it. That’s when he walked to the [REDACTED] Building and sat down on the steps.

I wanted him to clarify the gun possession because of my recent dealings with Mr. Nelson’s involvement in a shooting. Mr. May again stated he did not have any knowledge of a gun. As I spoke to him about guns, he became increasingly nervous and avoided eye contact with me. I asked him about the Mustang, and he stated it was his.

I asked him questions about what he did that day to see if Jeremiah was in the Mustang. Mr. May stated that he did pick up Jeremiah Nelson and [JUVENILE #1]. They drove around for a bit before eating at a Mexican restaurant. Mr. May stated Mr. Nelson asked him to drive to a family place in Cumberland Oaks. I asked him if there was a gun in the car at any time, and he said no. I asked him about marijuana in the vehicle because all three had an odor emanating from their clothing.

While I was questioning Mr. May, [REDACTED BY AGENCY] walked away from the scene without being noticed by law enforcement. After a brief search for Mr. [JUVENILE #1] in the immediate area, I asked Mr. May if he would grant consent for law enforcement to search his vehicle. He denied the consent to search the vehicle. Given his admission that the Mustang belonged to him, I told him that I would deploy my K9 for a free air sniff due to the strong odor of marijuana from their clothing.

While I was questioning Mr. May, other officers were speaking with Mr. Nelson. I was advised that Mr. Nelson denied any altercation and denied having possession of any firearms. Mr. Nelson denied being in the Mustang. I deployed K9 Roki, my dual-purpose trained K9, for a free air sniff. As K9 Roki approached the passenger door of the Mustang, I observed noticeable behavior changes indicating he was in a narcotic odor he is imprinted on.

Once K9 Roki reached the opening area of the passenger door, he presented me with a very noticeable behavior change and a final response. His final response indicates that he has detected an odor of a narcotic he’s imprinted on and is at the strongest source. Based on his indicators and final response, I gained probable cause to conduct a search of the Mustang.

While wearing my activated body-worn camera, Cpl. Hoster and I began a search of the Mustang. I began on the passenger side of the vehicle and Cpl. Hoster on the driver’s side. Cpl. Hoster located a Radical Arms rifle wrapped in a shirt wedged between the driver’s seat and the center console. The rifle was loaded with a magazine that contained eleven 5.56 mm bullets. Cpl. Hoster conducted a wanted/stolen check using the serial number 21099534 displayed on the rifle. The weapon was not wanted or stolen.

The search of the car also revealed a black backpack in the rear seat next to a Halloween mask. I searched through the bag and located a small black handgun in the main pocket. The handgun was a Cobra .380 displaying the serial number 15115511. The handgun also returned not wanted or stolen through a GCIC/NCIC check. While I continued to search the vehicle, I located drug-related objects and pieces of a green leafy substance throughout the car. Once I completed the vehicle search, both firearms were unloaded and verified safe before securing them in the back of my patrol vehicle.

While in the back seat of Officer Bishop’s patrol vehicle, Mr. May began giving details about Jeremiah Nelson. Officer Bishop briefed me on the details of what Mr. May said to him. Mr. May stated that he, Jeremiah Nelson, and [REDACTED BY AGENCY] he rode around St. Marys while in his Mustang. While driving throughout the city, Colton stated Jeremiah and [REDACTED BY AGENCY] kept passing the black handgun around. He stated the rifle was in the front seat because he did not want it in the back seat with the other two.

Mr. May also told Officer Bishop that once in Cumberland Oaks, Mr. Nelson exited the vehicle with the handgun and approached a silver four-door car. While at the window of the car, an argument began between Mr. Nelson and a female over money being owed to him. He stated Mr. Nelson walked back to the breezeway moments before law enforcement contacted them. Based on Mr. May’s statements and Mr. Nelson being less than 18 years old, Mr. Nelson was placed in handcuffs and secured in a separate patrol vehicle from Mr. May.

Georgia state law OCGA 16-11-132 (b) states it shall be unlawful for any person under the age of 18 years to possess or have under such person’s control a handgun. Mr. May expressed his desire to assist law enforcement in any way possible during this investigation. Based on his statements, the caller’s statements received from her daughter, and the black handgun identified by Mr. May as the one Mr. Nelson used, I arrested Mr. Nelson for possessing a handgun under the age of 18.

For Mr. May’s safety, he was escorted to the Police Department for further questioning and to get a formal statement. I contacted Detective Williams about Mr. Nelson and briefed him on this case. Det. Williams wanted to speak with Mr. May regarding another case he was investigating. Sgt. Olson (SMPD #109) transported Mr. Nelson to the Police Department for possible further questioning. I impounded the Mustang for evidentiary purposes, and it was towed to the St. Marys Police Department’s impound yard. The original victim could not be located during the investigation.

Once at the Police Department, Mr. May told Officer Bishop he had video evidence and knowledge of a shooting in the Reserves at Sugarmill that occurred on July 24, 2022. SMPD Case 2022-00012061 refers. I was a responding officer in that case. In that case, shell casings were located in front of Apartment #215 where Mr. Nelson resides. I asked Mr. May to describe his knowledge of the shooting in the Reserves. He stated that Mr. Nelson sent him a video of a physical fight between an unknown male and Mr. Nelson.

Shortly after the shooting, Mr. May said Mr. Nelson invited him to come by his apartment. While at Mr. Nelson’s apartment, Mr. May said Mr. Nelson admitted firing two shots in the direction of the unknown male and then threw the gun in a dumpster. I asked him what the caliber of the gun was, and he stated a 9mm. Two 9mm shell casings were recovered at the scene of the shooting. The details Mr. May told me was consistent with the evidence gathered during that investigation.

Based on the statements given by Mr. May, I spoke with Det. Williams and briefed him on the testimonial evidence given by Mr. May. Det. Williams asked me to hold Mr. Nelson at the Police Department so a formal video interview could be conducted. While Det. Williams conducted a formal interview, I asked Mr. May if I could look at his phone for evidence of the fight and subsequent shooting or other evidence that would confirm Mr. Nelson possessing firearms. He gave consent and turned his phone over and provided me the passcode.

During the formal interview, I searched Mr. May’s phone and discovered evidence on Snapchat dated August 1, 2022, the same date as the incident I was investigating. The Snapchat video evidence was from Mr. Nelson’s Snapchat story showing him riding around in the Mustang, pointing a black handgun into the camera, and waving it around. Also in his story, I observed him possessing a rifle similar to the one located in the Mustang and an Uzi style firearm with some form of noise suppressor on the end of the barrel.

I asked Mr. May about the rifles in Mr. Nelson’s Snapchat story. He said the video was taken at Mr. Nelson’s apartment this date. He also told me the rifles were in Mr. Nelson’s closet. When asked how he knew this, he stated he was at Mr. Nelson’s apartment before going to Cumberland Oaks. Mr. May also stated at one point, he asked Mr. Nelson if he could purchase the Uzi rifle. Mr. Nelson allegedly said no because all his guns were “hot” indicating they were stolen.

Detective Williams finished his formal interview and advised me that Mr. Nelson admitted to firing two rounds in front of his apartment during the physical fight that occurred on July 24, 2022. Mr. Nelson was escorted out of the Police Department and secured in the back of Officer Bishop’s patrol vehicle. Based on the events and witness statements from the incident at Cumberland Oaks and the admission during the formal interview, Mr. Nelson was also being charged with a second count of possession of a handgun by a person under the age of 18 OCGA 16-11-132 (b) (Felony) and reckless conduct OCGA 16-5-60 (B). Detective Williams will secure a warrant for reckless conduct.

Officer Bishop transported Mr. Nelson to the Camden County jail to be booked on the above charges. Detective Williams then interviewed Mr. May. Based on the statements given by Mr. May, Detective Williams asked for assistance to make contact at Mr. Nelson’s apartment. Detective Williams advised me he had contacted Mr. Nelson’s mother, Ms. Nicole Aurora Quarles, who was willing to meet us at her apartment.

Detective Williams, Sgt. Olson, Cpl. Hoster, Officer Bishop, and I met with Ms. Quarles at [11100 BLOCK] Colerain Road, Apt. 215. Ms. Quarles told offices she had not been home all day and had not seen her son since that morning. Detective Williams explained the circumstances and situation her son was in. One of Mr. Nelson’s friends also explained that they had been in his room earlier in the evening. While in the room, Jeremiah and the friend played with the rifles and handguns and gave details, including a hand-drawn map of where the firearms are currently located.

Ms. Quarles stated she does not typically go in her son’s bedroom and has no knowledge of any firearms in the home besides her Ruger 9mm. Due to Jeremiah being a 17-year-old still in high school, officers asked Ms. Quarles for consent to search her son’s room. Ms. Quarles consented to a search her son’s bedroom. In the bedroom closet, I located a Ruger AR 5.56mm rifle, a IWI 22lr UZI, a safe, a box of 50 rounds of .380 ACP ammunition, consistent with the handgun found in Cumberland Oaks. I found many drug-related objects and a bag containing 22 long rifle bullets. The location was the same as Mr. May told us.

The following is a list of items taken from Mr. Nelson’s bedroom closet. Det. Williams photographed all evidence items before removing them.

  1. IWI 22LR Uzi with a magazine containing 12 bullets.
  2. Ruger 5.56 AR rifle with a magazine containing 20 bullets.
  3. One green bag containing 235 rounds of 22LR ammunition.
  4. One 50-round box of .380 ACP ammunition.
  5. One grinder containing a green leafy substance.
  6. Two electronic scales with green leafy residue.
  7. Multiple THC cigar boxes from a dispensary.
  8. Two unused Mad Labz High percentage (85.20 % THC) THC oil cartridges.
  9. One black safe with a strong odor of Marijuana emanating from it.

All items were secured in Officer Bishop’s patrol vehicle and transported to the St. Marys Police Department’s Evidence room. While at the Police Department, a wants check was conducted on the IWI UZI, serial number [REDACTED BY AGENCY] and the Ruger AR, serial number [REDACTED BY AGENCY]. Both weapons were not wanted or stolen.

I gained access inside the safe and discovered U.S. currency in three bundles, a Glock Model 23 .40 caliber pistol with a 28-round extended magazine, and a large amount of green leafy substance in a clear baggie. The green leafy substance in the baggie was unground and still in large bud form. Based on my training, knowledge, and experience, Marijuana in that form is commonly used for distribution. I took photographs of the contraband found in the safe. The Glock 23 was not wanted or stolen.

While submitting the evidence, I conducted a field test of a piece of the green leafy substance found in the safe using a Nark 2 marijuana test kit. The test indicated a positive presence of Marijuana THC. The total weight of Marijuana seized is 29.33 grams. Based on my training and experience, this is greater than the amount usually possessed for personal use.

The U.S. currency was counted on an active body-worn camera. The cash totaled $3100.00. The currency denominations included $5.00, $10.00, $20.00, and $50.00 bills which is consistent with the sale and distribution of illegal narcotics. The currency was banded together in three bundles. Two bundles contained $1000.00 and one bundle contained $1100.00. Based on my training, knowledge, and experience, this bundling is consistent with the sale and distribution of narcotics. Cpl. Hoster conducted an independent counting of the currency and verified the total of $3100.00. All evidence was documented and submitted.

Due to the amount of marijuana, cash along with the electronic scales, I will be seeking warrants for possession with intent to distribute marijuana OCGA 16-13-30 (j). I will seek additional warrants for violations of the following:

-OCGA 16-13-32.2: Possession of drug-related objects (two electronic scales, a grinder, clear baggie containing the marijuana)

-OCGA 16-13-30(a): Possession of a controlled substance for the high percentage THC oil

-OCGA 16-11-132(B): Possession of a pistol by a person under 18 years old (two counts). One count for the incident at Cumberland Oaks and the second count for the pistol located in the safe in Mr. Nelson’s bedroom.

I am continuing to investigate Mr. [REDACTED BY AGENCY]’s role in the Cumberland Oaks incident. If evidence is found that Mr. [JUVENILE #1] took a role with the handgun, I will contact the Department of Juvenile Justice, and a Juvenile Complaint Form (J2) will be completed and submitted. Mr. May was released to his parents and will be completing written statements. The Ford Mustang will be released to Mr. May’s parents.

[End of Narrative]