Home | News | Jalen Ricks: Suspect in Clayton County shootout with deputies dies

Jalen Ricks: Suspect in Clayton County shootout with deputies dies

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Jalen Lathon Ricks Jalen Lathon Ricks  

A Clayton County teenager is dead after a shootout in which deputies said he hid in the woods and ambushed them.

Clayton County deputies responded to a cul de sac on Warwick Drive in Jonesboro at about 8 a.m. Thursday after seeing a driver speeding through a school zone.

When they got there they said Jalen Ricks, 19, was hiding in the woods.

Investigators said he opened fire, starting a shootout that ended his life and injured a Clayton County deputy, who has since been released the hospital.

Gary McClendon told Jones his daughter was home alone when she saw a red car driven by Ricks zoom into their cul-de-sac.

Officers soon pulled up and McClendon said his daughter heard an eruption of gunfire.

A woman crying at the scene was heard saying, "Is my son shot?"

"And all she kept hearing is gunshots," McClendon said.

Another neighbor said she also saw the red car pull up and then saw a man grab a shotgun out of the trunk of the car then hide in the woods.

Then as officers approached, "she saw one gunshot first and then a bunch started coming on," neighbor Miguel Guzman said.

Clayton County deputies said this all began when Ricks drove recklessly in front of Jonesboro High School

Officers lost him but neighbors along Warwick Drive noticed Ricks and called 911.

Officers said Ricks ambushed them as they arrived.

Jalen Lathon Ricks

"They returned fire on the subject, ultimately striking the subject and one of the officers was shot as well," Deputy Garland Watkins with the Clayton County Sheriff's Office said.

The McClendons said it's sad that Ricks had to lose his life this way, but they understand officers had a job to do.

"The fact that the young man fired on the deputy that was actually over in the woods and kind of like an ambush, I mean, I kind of understand what happened," McClendon said.

Deputies said the incident happened after Ricks dropped his younger brother off at Jonesboro High School.

Jalen Ricks' sister and friends said they couldn't believe what they were hearing.

"It's not him. That's not my brother. He wouldn't just get out of the car and start shooting at the police," the sister said, who asked not to be identified. "There's so many stories going around. Get your stories straight."

But that's not what investigators are saying as they focus on finding out what led to the fatal shooting.

Ricks had been attending Perry Learning Center in Joneboro, a school that focuses on vocational training.

He also attended Jonesboro High School last year and played football for the school two years ago according to a former teammate.

"This is my first time experiencing something like this. So, I was just shocked," said former teammate Regis Taylor.

Willis checked Ricks' record after finding two separate mugshots. Willis said he could only access information associated with Ricks' booking photo from DeKalb County when he was arrested for driving with a suspended license.

"Has he been in trouble before?" Willis asked his sister.

"Nothing major. He's a teenager, but nothing major," the sister said.

Ricks was pronounced dead at Southern Regional Hospital


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