Police officer arrested for celebratory gunfire - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Police officer arrested for celebratory gunfire

By Wainwright Jeffers - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – An Albany police officer is suspended with pay after he was arrested on New Years Day for recklessly firing the department's gun while celebrating the start of 2011.

Officer Grady Rachel Jr. spent several hours behind bars in Lee County for firing his Albany Police Department issued weapons.

The celebration took place at 114 Elejay Court off of Lover's Lane road in the Wisteria Estates Subdivision.

"Witnesses stated they were ducking down in their houses, they didn't know which way the bullets were going," said Sheriff Reggie Rachals, Lee County.

The sheriff was patrolling on New Year's Eve and got a personal call about the shooting.

"I was on the phone with a complainant and you could hear gunshots in the background," said Sheriff Rachals.

28-year-old Rachel is an APD officer assigned to the S.W.A.T. Unit. His friend 31-year-old Demetrius Eady was at the house and used at least one of the officer's guns to fire rounds.

"When deputies arrived on the scene they observed the firing of the weapons also."

Neighbors said the rounds were fired for several minutes, deputies found more than two dozen shell casings on the ground.

Sheriff Rachels said the officer admitted to firing a MP-5 assault weapon. Deputies also had to arrest 25-year-old Taneisha Zellous.

"She was told numerous times to get back in the house while we conducted the investigation, she didn't follow those orders."

I asked the sheriff if alcohol was involved.

"As far as the two men, they tested negative on the alcohol sensor and that was surprising to a bunch of us."

The men are charged with discharging a firearm in a subdivision, they along with Zellous face disorderly conduct charges.

APD is conducting an internal investigation. Officer Rachel and the two others were each released on $1,000 bond.

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