Norcross Police Chief Warren Summers spoke at the Progressive Development Committee meeting Wednesday morning at 45 South Cafe, where he explained and answered questions about .
"My real concern for you this morning is to alleviate your fears about the unsafety of your home," said Summers of the Autry Street incident. "I want you all to know that you're as safe today as you were last week before this happened."
Summers made it clear that Norcross PD believes the murder and home invasion incident was a targeted event, and not a random act of violence.
"This was not something that you have to worry about at your home," he said. "This is not a random event, if you will, where they just decide to pick out a house because it looks like a nice house to go in and do a home invasion."
He further explained that home invasions aren't typically where suspects steal televisions and jewelry; instead, they go in for a specific purpose and usually to look for an item.
Summers said he's certain they have the right suspects, but it may be possible others were involved. The person who rented the van, for example, was not in it when police arrested the six suspects, he said.
Many attendees also were concerned on the rumors that the incident may be gang-related or drug-related. So far, Summers said there has been no evidence of either activity.
"They were here to do a robbery," said the police chief. "I would term it more a 'robbing crew' than a 'gang.'" He said that gangs are usually from one area, which is not the case with the six suspects, who all range in age, too. Two of the suspects are brothers or stepbrothers, though, and they have ties to the Norcross area, he said.
The chief spoke for about half an hour, and the residents seemed to be pleased with what he had to say. "I think it's great that he came in and gave us an update [even] within the parameters of what he's allowed to talk about," said resident Dwayne Higgins.
"The people were on pins and needles around here," said Gordon Tomlinson, the chair of the PDC and attorney at the Tomlinson Law Office. "What better way to ease the tension than to invite the chief to speak?"
Aside from the murder incident, Summers and Captain Brian Harr also informed the community members on what they can do to stay informed with police activity and what options are available if they feel unsafe.
Norcross PD can help form neighborhood watch groups among any subdivisions interested in the service, and house watch is available to residents, too, which comes in handy for those out-of-town trips.
"All you have to do is give us a call," said Harr. "Let us know when you'll be gone, and they'll check on your house for you."