Undercover drug operation ends with gunfire, death - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Undercover drug operation ends with gunfire, death

October 27, 2006

Lumpkin --  A Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent shot and killed a suspected drug dealer after he grabber her, and agents who rushed in were met with a hail of gunfire.

This the second deadly shootout in downtown Lumpkin is a little over a year. Last August, Lumpkin Police Chief John Stripling and Stewart County Deputy Clinton Rivers were shot in the face when a suicidal man opened fire on the Lumpkin town square.

Because of that shooting, state agents were called in to see if drugs are a problem in this west Georgia community.   

The shots rang out right up the road from Hilda Short's home on Elm Street Thursday evening. "I heard a gunshot, and I said what in the world who in the world is that shooting this time of day," Short said. "So I saw my daughter run out the door and her children, I said 'Y'all better get back in the house; them bullets can go anywhere.

Undercover GBI agents were buying drugs from 21-year-old Markeith Moses, a suspected drug dealer in Lumpkin. Then the unexpected happened. "The individual assaulted the agent, pulling the agent from the vehicle, and the agent felt threatened, and in turn the agent shot this individual," said GBI agent Garry Moore.

The undercover agent fired a single shot at Moses. Moses broke away from the officer and ran to a nearby group of people. Shots were fired back at the GBI agents, so GBI fired back.

Moses was mortally wounded.

Fifteen-year-old Jamaal Protho says he couldn't believe it when he saw his friend lying dead on the street. "He was a cool person. Me and him used to walk, talk and stuff. I never really seen him did no drugs," said Protho.

But GBI says during this operation, they've bought drugs from Moses six times in the past.

Two more arrests were made during the shooting incident. One was a juvenile, the other was Moses' brother, Eric Moses, who is in the Sumter County Jail, charged with aggravated assault of an officer.

GBI agents have been undercover in Lumpkin for about a year, and now that cover is blown. Local police say for a small town with a population of just more than 1,300 , there's a big problem here with drugs, and it's a root cause of more crimes.

"Drugs lead to all other problems that we have such as burglaries and robberies," said Lt. Roger Lewis.

Hilda Short says drugs are a detriment to her neighborhood, and her well-being as a Lumpkin resident, and they need to stop. "It's dangerous, and I got teenage grandsons, children walking around here; I don't want them into that stuff," said Short.

Drugs are a problem law enforcers were trying to stop in Lumpkin, and one they'll continue to fight even though the GBI sting operation came to an early end.

The GBI says arrests are to come for the suspected drug dealers who have been identified and still on the streets. The operation was nearing it's end when this shooting took place.

It's been almost a year now, starting soon after the former police chief was shot and killed Since the drug sting involved GBI agents in Americus, agents from the Greenville office are in Lumpkin still investigating this shooting.

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