A Dunwoody man called police early Saturday morning to report that a man he had been dating was sending threatening messages, according to a police report released Tuesday. Monday morning, James Curtis Jones was dead. And police say the man who shot Jones was the one he’d accused of threatening him.
But Roy McClendon-Thompson told police he had never threatened Jones.
A Dunwoody police officer had taken statements from both men. McClendon-Thompson told the officer he found out Jones had cheated on him, so he blocked Jones on his phone, the police report states.
But Jones allegedly still emailed McClendon-Thompson, although Jones declined to show the officer the emails, the police report states. The officer told Jones to end all communication with McClendon-Thompson.
Shortly after 5 a.m. Monday, McClendon-Thompson allegedly drove to the Arrive Perimeter Apartments, across the street from Perimeter Mall, where Jones lived, according to Sgt. Robert Parsons with the Dunwoody Police Department. Callers to 911 reported hearing shots and screams, and officers arrived to find Jones in the parking deck. The 45-year-old had been shot in the chest and died from his injuries.
Investigators identified McClendon-Thompson, a McNair High School teacher, as the suspect in the shooting and attempted to locate him at his Ellenwood home. But McClendon-Thompson fled from officers and drove to Clayton County, where he crashed head-on into a commercial vehicle on Bouldercrest Road, police said.
McClendon-Thompson died at the scene of the crash. He was 42.
Friends were shocked to learn of McClendon-Thompson’s death, with dozens posting tributes on his Facebook page. The allegations against the teacher were difficult to believe and out of character, Atlanta attorney Gerald Griggs told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
He and McClendon-Thompson had been friends for 19 years, Griggs said Tuesday afternoon.
“What I knew of Roy was he was a great individual who had a heart for the community,” Griggs said. “He was loved. And he gave to this city in ways most people will never know.”
McClendon-Thompson attended Valdosta State University and was a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. Griggs, also in the fraternity, said holding voter registration drives for teenagers was a service project McClendon-Thompson was involved in every year.
McClendon-Thompson taught social studies at McNair, according to the DeKalb school system. Grief counselors were at the school Tuesday and a letter was sent to parents about the teacher’s death. Griggs said McClendon-Thompson had previously invited him to McNair to speak with students about his work.
One of McClendon-Thompson’s students posted a tribute on Facebook, along with a photo of McClendon-Thompson dressed as a Christmas tree.
“Your smile, goofiness, and presence will be missed but nothing more than your motivation will be missed,” the student wrote. “You pushed us to be more than just students. You will forever live through me and I’m eager to make you proud.”
McClendon-Thompson was married, Griggs said. Nevertheless, Dunwoody investigators think McClendon-Thompson’s allegation that Jones was unfaithful to him was a possible motive for the shooting. The police report from Saturday offered details about the couple’s relationship, but the responding officer saw no evidence of threats.
McClendon-Thompson told police he and Jones met online and began dating off and on in November. Then on Friday, a friend told McClendon-Thompson about a new man he had met, the police report states. And when the friend showed McClendon-Thompson a photo of his new love interest, the picture was of Jones.
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