Two men were running errands Tuesday afternoon; one had to pick up medication for his disabled son. At the same time, police say, two teenagers were speeding through town in a stolen SUV.
The SUV and the other car collided Campbellton Road and Lee Street, leaving the two men dead and the two teens behind bars.
Mark Hampton was 43. Jermaine Jackson was 44. Marguell Scott and Emmanuel Fambro, both 19, now face numerous charges.
“It’s so senseless,” said Hampton’s mother, Deborah Hampton, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It just seems like it’s a dream. A nightmare.”
Hampton and Jackson lived three doors down from each other and both cared for ill family members.
Hampton was a father of five. His 11-year-old son, Mark Jr., is wheelchair-bound and his condition requires him to be in a cool climate, Deborah Hampton said. Mark Sr. had gone to pick up his son’s medication and an air-conditioning unit on Tuesday, she said.
“He was a great father,” she said. “He dedicated his life to his children.”
Jackson had recently moved in with his mother, who has cancer, family members said at vigil Thursday night.
“You don’t even know if you’re going to see your loved ones again. That’s hard,” relative Vera Lucas told Channel 2 Action News. “No mother should ever have to go through what his mother is going through.”
Late Monday, Atlanta City Councilwoman Joyce Sheperd released a statement regarding Hampton and Jackson.
“It’s clear they played a cherished and invaluable role in our community and my deepest condolences and sympathy go out their families during this time,” Sheperd said.
The Atlanta police department, like other law enforcement agencies, has specific protocol on when officers should chase suspects. Deputy Chief Jeff Glazier defended the officers’ actions, saying the suspects were driving a stolen vehicle.
“It does fall within our standard operating procedure,” Glazier said. “We don’t chase everyone. We’re very strict on who we allow our officers to chase. In this case, since the vehicle was taken (at) gunpoint — it was a carjacking — we did allow the chase to continue.”
Fambro was booked into the Fulton County jail Thursday after being treated for his injuries at Grady Memorial Hospital. Scott remained at Grady until Monday, when he was transferred to the Fulton jail, booking records showed. Both of the suspects were well-known to police because of previous run-ins, Atlanta police Sgt. John Chafee said.
Scott, the driver of the SUV, was acquitted of a murder charge during a September trial, Chafee said. In an emailed statement, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said his office has tried 341 murder cases since 2013, losing just 24, and called the acquittal rare.
“What is so troubling is when a defendant receives another chance, as Scott did, and instead chooses to continue a life of crime and ultimately becomes responsible for the tragic deaths of two innocent people,” Howard said.
In addition to felony murder, Scott’s latest charges include first-degree homicide by vehicle, serious injury by vehicle, theft by receiving a stolen auto, obstruction of officers, fleeing and attempting to elude police, criminal damage to property, reckless driving and failure to obey a traffic control device, police said. Fambro is charged with obstruction and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony after investigators found a gun on him following the fatal crash.
Fambro waived his first court appearance Friday and was being held without bond. His next court hearing is scheduled for Dec. 20 at 9:30 a.m.
Meanwhile, the Hampton and Jackson families must plan funerals. A Go Fund Me page was created Friday to assist the Hampton family with the cost of his returning him to Virginia. RW Andrews Mortuary in Atlanta was handling arrangements, according to online obituaries.
Deborah Hampton said she spoke or texted her son every day, but missed his call the day he was killed. She tried several times to reach him, but there was no answer. Later, Hampton was told the news that changed everything.
“I just never got to talk to him again,” she said.
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