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Suspect in Decatur murder accused of shooting at a vehicle on I-285 in March

Crime and public safety Decatur slideshow

Suspect in Decatur murder accused of shooting at a vehicle on I-285 in March

Simmie Rischard Reed. Photo provided by Decatur Police
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Simmie Rischard Reed. Photo provided by Decatur Police

DeKalb County Police say that a man accused of murdering a teenager at a Decatur intersection is a suspect in a similar crime that occurred in March.

The revelation could explain why Decatur Police have been reluctant to endorse the “road rage” theory as the explanation for the June 20 murder of Ja-Nae Owens, 17. While other media outlets locally and nationally have reported the murder was a road rage incident, Decatur Police have continued to insist that the motive is under investigation.

Simmie Rischard Reed, 50 had his first court appearance on Monday, June 25. He did not enter a plea and did not make any statements about the case. There will be a probable cause hearing on July 17 at 1 p.m. Decatur Police have not said why they suspect Reed in Owens’ murder, other than saying that they identified him because of a tip received from an unnamed individual. Decaturish obtained arrest warrants issued for Reedand found a judge had ordered a redaction of the reason for Reed’s arrest.

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The Decatur murder occurred at the intersection of South Candler Street and Midway Road on a Wednesday afternoon, June 20, shortly before 6 p.m. A man described as “a bald black male driving a black Chrysler 200 or 300” allegedly opened fire into a red Nissan, killing Owens. According to the warrants, in addition to killing Owens, Reed allegedly injured the girls’ mother, Jocelyn Gilbert, firing a 9 mm gun at her and striking her in the shoulder. He also allegedly fired at Owens’ twin sister, identified as Ja-Maya Owens. She was uninjured.

The twins hailed from Shreveport, La. They had moved to Atlanta about five weeks ago and owned a photography business, Shotsbytwins.

Decaturish asked Craig Lee, an uncle of the victims, if there was any kind of traffic dispute between the victims and the suspect that occurred prior to the June 20 murder. Lee said he was not aware of any traffic disputes leading up to it. He said the victims told the family that “the car had been following them for a period of time, then pulled up alongside of them and began shooting.”

When Reed was arrested, court records indicated that he was a suspect in an aggravated assault that occurred in March. DeKalb County Police spokesperson Shiera Campbell said that on March 16 around 5 p.m. a woman was riding in the passenger side of a vehicle driving on I-285 southbound near the merge with Stone Mountain freeway.

According to the police report, the “suspect’s vehicle pulled up beside hers in stop and go traffic. [The] suspect was in the passenger seat. The suspect yelled out ‘I know y’all!’ The complainant advised that the suspect pointed and discharged a firearm (pistol) at her vehicle, striking the rear passenger door. The complainant and driver attempted to flee the scene for safety.”

Campbell said she did not know if anyone else was in the vehicle with the suspect in the March 16 shooting. The suspect was described as a black male with gray facial hair.

“He didn’t hit anyone,” she said. “I believe there was glass that struck the woman, but no one was hit by a bullet.”

The victim’s name is being withheld in that case because detectives still need to talk to her and show her a photo lineup.

A Decaturish investigation of court records revealed that in 1988 Reed was convicted of shooting a man, Joseph Lamar Carter, with a shotgun while the man was inside his car. That killing occurred in Mobile, Ala. Carter’s sister, Anna, said the shooting stemmed from a dispute over a woman. The jury in Mobile found him guilty of manslaughter and he was sentenced to 20 years in prison. He was also accused of a rape unrelated to Carter’s killing. The case never went forward because the victim did not want to go through the stress of a trial, court records show.

Anna Carter said she is outraged that Reed left prison and is now accused of killing someone else.

“He should’ve never got out of jail for murdering somebody,” she said. “They need to stop letting these murderers out of jail. Now he’s done killed a 17-year-old child. It’s just terrible.”

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