UPDATE: Victim in first 2020 Albany homicide identified

UPDATE: Victim in first 2020 Albany homicide identified

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - The first Albany homicide of 2020 happened late Sunday evening in the 2000 block of Juniper Drive, according to a report from the Albany Police Department (APD).

On Monday morning, the victim was identified as Johnny Wright III, 18, according to Michael Fowler, Dougherty County coroner.

Police responded to resident calls regarding shots being fired in that area. After arriving, they learned the victim had been shot.

“People are so used to being out socializing and moving about, now they are all in one location and one area and anything could possibly come off,” Fowler told WALB News 10.

Albany Police Chief Michael Persley shared with WALB News 10 where they are in the investigation.

“Since that time, we have had several people come in and interviewed. Based on the evidence we found at the scene, along with other evidence, we have been able to identify some suspects involved in this case,” Chief Persley said.

Chief Persley said they aren’t sure if it is gang-related but that is how they are approaching it.

“We don’t really know at this time but we are looking at it from that angle. What we do know is that these were teenagers who were having a dispute through Facebook,” Chief Persely told us.

Coroner Fowler said this is Dougherty County’s second homicide this year.

“We had one of the East Side of town that DCP worked and this is the first for APD in Albany,” Fowler shared with us.

Chief Persley said there are other incidents that have led them to believe they could be related.

“We don’t know if they are connected or separate incidents. We are investigating those as well,” Persley told us over the phone.

At about 11:30 p.m., APD was searching for a drive-by shooting suspect after the victim was fatally wounded.

APD wants families to know that during these trying circumstances, it's important that people learn to handle problems differently than with violence.

“When you are trying to react to something posted on social media you gotta think, is your life worth that? And every life is precious,” Chief Persley said.

APD said this is still an ongoing investigation. If anyone has seen or heard anything, they are asked to call Albany-Area Crime Stoppers at 229-436-TIPS.

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