The Atlanta Police Department worked with other law enforcement agencies to coordinate the arrests and charges for five felons who targeted areas such as Lenox Square Mall, Cleveland Avenue and MLK Drive.
Deuntrae Meshari Colley, Antonio Cooper, also known as “Antoine Cooper,” Dexter Hancock, Daeqwan Ray Jackson, also known as “Daequan Ray Jackson,” Donald Johnson, and Drashawn Mitchell, all convicted felons, have been charged with federal offenses, including possessing a firearm while being a convicted felon.
These arrests resulted from coordination among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies as part of an operation under the Project Safe Neighborhood Program. This operation, named “Operation Phoenix Summer Surge,” focused on the arrest and prosecution of individuals who illegally used or possessed firearms in violation of federal law and are responsible for driving violence in the city of Atlanta.
“These convictions are an excellent example of how cooperation between federal, state and local law enforcement partners can make our community safer by bringing dangerous offenders to justice,” Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis said. “We are cooperating closely with the Acting U.S. Attorney, ATF and other federal partners to make sure felons who break the law by possessing a firearm receive a substantial prison sentence.”
According to Acting U.S. Attorney Kurt Erskine, the charges and other information presented and alleged in court, an APD officer encountered Antonio Cooper, 35, of Atlanta, at a supermarket in Atlanta Nov. 28, 2020. Police say Cooper attempted to conceal a black Ruger 9mm pistol by tossing the firearm near an ATM machine in the store. Cooper’s prior criminal history includes 2020 convictions for aggravated assault and aggravated battery, and numerous drug trafficking offenses. A federal grand jury indicted Cooper for the offense of possessing a firearm on Sept. 21 after having been convicted of a felony offense.
According to authorities, APD officers encountered Deuntrae Colley, 38, of Atlanta, who was wanted in connection with an aggravated assault, Aug. 6, 2021. Colley attempted to flee from the officers and discard a backpack. Police say he was apprehended and the backpack was searched, where they recovered a loaded .22 caliber revolver and a spent shell casing.
Colley’s criminal history includes a robbery conviction and an incident in which he’s accused of shooting a man on MLK Drive July 11 of this year. On Sept. 7, a federal grand jury indicted Colley for the offense of possessing a firearm after having been convicted of a felony offense.
Dexter Hancock, 35, Atlanta, was driving in the parking lot of Lenox Mall in Atlanta when he nearly collided with another motorist July 3. Police say Hancock pointed a loaded 9mm Taurus G2c handgun at the other motorist and members of the motorist’s family. APD officers responded to the scene and arrested Hancock. At the time of his arrest, Hancock was already on supervised release for a federal fraud offense and had been previously convicted of burglary and charged with possessing a weapon during the commission of a crime. A federal grand jury indicted Hancock for the offense of possessing a firearm after having been convicted of a felony offense Sept. 21.
Officers with the APD and Georgia State Patrol responded to a shooting that occurred on Cleveland Avenue in Atlanta Aug. 5. Officers on the scene encountered Daeqwan Jackson, 22, of Lithonia, who appeared injured. Police say Jackson informed the officers that he accidentally shot himself with a loaded Glock 30 .45 caliber firearm, loaded with a magazine, that he was carrying.
While conducting a background check of Jackson, investigators say they discovered that recently, in 2019, Jackson was convicted of two counts of robbery by sudden snatching. On Aug. 9, Jackson was charged via a federal criminal complaint with the offense of possessing a firearm after having been convicted of a felony offense.
Police also arrested and charged Donald Johnson, 36, of Atlanta, for allegedly threatening a woman with a gun July 22. APD officers arrived at an apartment on Center Street in Atlanta in response to a 911 call from a woman who reported that someone had threatened her with a gun. The officers met with the victim and saw injuries to the victim’s left eye, mouth, and left jaw.
Police say the victim reported that Johnson struck her in the left eye and mouth and later pointed a gun at her and threatened to kill her. The victim was subsequently hospitalized with a broken jaw. Johnson was eventually taken into local custody. APD officers recovered a loaded Smith and Wesson 38 Special revolver from a wooded area near the victim’s residence. The victim had reported to officers that they would find the gun in that area where Johnson attempted to hide it.
At the time of his arrest, Johnson had been convicted of nine felony offenses and a misdemeanor offense of domestic violence. A federal grand jury indicted Johnson Aug. 24 for the offense of possessing a firearm after having been convicted of a felony offense.
On May 12, APD officers, while on routine patrol in the New Town residential area in Atlanta, encountered Drashawn Mitchell, 26, of Atlanta, who had an active warrant in Fulton County for committing a burglary while on probation. After initially resisting arrest, Mitchell was taken into custody. Police say during a post-arrest search of Mitchell’s vehicle, the officers recovered a loaded Taurus G2C 9mm pistol, an extended 9MM magazine, a digital scale, and illegal drugs, including heroin and cocaine. Mitchel was later sentenced on Sept. 14, a federal grand jury indicted Mitchell for the offenses of drug trafficking and possessing a firearm in furtherance of that trafficking offense, and possessing a firearm after having been convicted of a felony offense.
“Getting criminals off of our streets is a priority for the Atlanta Police Department,” Atlanta Police Department Chief Rodney Bryant said. “Our work with Operation Phoenix has proven time and time again that our partnerships are effective and making a difference. Just knowing that these repeat offenders will be hold accountable for their actions, sends a strong message that we will find you and we will not tolerate criminal activity in our city.”
This operation was part of the district’s PSN program and led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Fulton County District Attorney’s Office. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.
Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most serious violent crime problems in the community and to develop comprehensive solutions to address them.
As a part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders, and supports and fosters partnerships between law enforcement and schools, the faith community, local community leaders, and locally-based prevention and reentry programs – all to prevent and deter future criminal conduct and to achieve sustainable reductions in crime.