Two charged with murder in Rochelle birthday party shooting death

Published 3:22 pm Monday, March 18, 2019

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UPDATE: 3:21 p.m., Monday, March 18, 2019…

The state has filed charges against two males as a result of the shooting death of Jaquarious Benjamin at his birthday party early Sunday morning. A Superior Court judge recently signed arrest warrants for both 20-year-old Marquavous Coley and an unnamed juvenile for one count of felony murder and three counts of aggravated assault.

Both subjects are in custody.

Benjamin, age 18, was killed after a verbal dispute between two rival groups erupted into gunfire. Benjamin was killed by a single gunshot wound and three others were wounded in the shooting incident.

Benjamin would have turned 19 on Tuesday.

[Editor’s note: The Dispatch does not report the identity of juveniles arrested in felony cases.]

This is a developing story. Read below for previously reported details or read all about it in Wednesday’s print edition of the Dispatch.

Investigators release name of man killed at weekend party in Rochelle

UPDATE: 2:34 p.m., Monday, March 18, 2019…

Investigators have released the name of the man shot and killed at a birthday party early Sunday morning in Rochelle.

Jaquarious Benjamin, age 18, was killed by a single gunshot wound that he sustained when an argument between two rival groups turned violent, according to GBI Special Agent in Charge J.T. Ricketson. Investigators are in the process of determining if the incident is related to organized gang activity.

Ricketson said agents are meeting this afternoon with a Superior Court judge to secure arrest warrants on charges of felony murder and aggravated assault. Ricketson said they will request arrest warrants on two males, one of whom is a juvenile. Once a judge has signed the warrants, more information about the identities of the subjects will be released.

An autopsy on Benjamin’s body has been completed. Ricketson said medical examiners recovered a bullet that should provide more information about which gun fired the deadly shot. Investigators have seized two handguns believed to have been used in the shooting, which left three others injured. One of the subjects is among the injured.

The party that began Saturday night was a birthday party for Benjamin, who would have turned 19 on Tuesday.

The original story that appeared online Sunday:

One dead, three injured in Rochelle shooting

ROCHELLE (Sunday, March 17) – Agents with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are currently investigating an early-morning argument between two groups of people in Rochelle that turned deadly.

According to GBI Special Agent in Charge J.T. Ricketson, a group of people had gathered at an outside location on Dennis Street near Railroad Avenue and Jessie Street on Saturday night to celebrate a birthday. Another group of people, believed to have a history of past disagreements with the group celebrating, showed up and a disturbance ensued.

At around 2 a.m. Sunday morning, the disturbance turned into gunfire that left one person dead and three others wounded. Law enforcement agents have two people in custody and are currently pursuing arrest warrants and a search warrant for a nearby residence. The status of the three wounded individuals is unclear at this time, although none appear to have sustained life-threatening injuries.

Ricketson said much of the ongoing investigation at this time (approximately 2 p.m. Sunday) is centered around the scene of the crime. Agents have identified multiple shell casings and are processing a vehicle believed to be involved in the incident.

They have also interviewed potential witnesses to the shooting and are seeking more. Anyone who may have been in the area at around 2 a.m. or anyone who directly witnessed the incident is urged to call the GBI at 478-987-4545.

“It’s a tragedy for everyone involved, and it appears there were a lot of people who witnessed it,” Ricketson said.

No information about the identities of those involved in the incident has been released as of yet. This is a breaking story, which will be updated as more information develops.