By Special to the Daily World
MARTA Police have announced the arrests of three additional juvenile suspects in the April 16 assault on two customers aboard a southbound train and are searching for an adult who was also allegedly involved, according to Police Chief Wanda Dunham.
As part of an ongoing investigation into the incident, police have arrested three males, ages 12, 14 and 16, who are being held in the Metro Regional Youth Detention Center in Atlanta. The juveniles, whose names are being withheld because of their ages, are charged with robbery by force, attempted robbery by force and aggravated battery.
MARTA Police have also posted a “BOLO” (“be on the lookout”) for David George Watkins, 19, of Atlanta who is being sought on charges of aggravated battery, aggravated assault and attempted robbery. He is considered dangerous.
The latest arrests mean that a total of six suspects are now in custody in connection with the incident during which both victims received minor facial injuries and one was robbed of his wallet. The suspects arrested previously are Zantavious Sanchez Scott, 20, his brother, Jarquez Scott, 19 and another 16-year-old male whose name is also being withheld. The adult suspects are being held in the Fulton County Jail.
According to accounts from the victims and witnesses, the incident occurred shortly after Atlanta Police dispersed a large group of young people who had been attending a party at a club near downtown. An unknown number of those patrons boarded a MARTA train a few blocks away at Garnett Station.
As the train headed south, several suspects confronted the two MARTA customers who were en route to the Airport Station. During the assault, the victims received minor facial injuries that did not require immediate medical attention. Their assailants exited the train at Oakland City station and fled.
One of the victims disputed false media reports that the doors on the train failed to open as they should have and that the attack was as violent as it has been described by an anonymous witness who has been featured on local TV newscasts.
“The doors opened fine so I don’t know where this so-called witness got that from,” said the 28-year-old victim. “For some reason, the media made this out to be like it was a horror movie, but it wasn’t.”
The victim added that he was not afraid to ride MARTA, despite misleading news reports that portrayed the transit system as unsafe. “I think you have to be vigilant and you have to be careful, but that’s true wherever you go,” the victim said. “But I’ve never felt unsafe on MARTA. I’ve ridden it before and I will ride it again in the future. Actually, I rode it after this happened.”
According to MARTA, Watkins is a Black male with brown eyes and Black hair, 6 feet 1 inches tall and weighs about 179 pounds. He is wanted by police on charges of robbery by force, aggravated battery, attempted robbery and aggravated assault. Anyone with information into the whereabouts of the suspect is asked to call the MARTA Police Department at 404-848-4911.