Gwinnett County police investigators on Friday recovered the firearm a 17-year-old boy allegedly used to kill his two sisters and mother, a Gwinnett sheriff’s deputy, authorities said.
Gwinnett police and a Hall County dive team found the weapon in one of the two areas where the accused, Anthony Tyrone Terrell, said he had disposed of it, Gwinnett police said.
Anthony Tyrone Terrell, 17, has been charged with three counts of murder.
Police didn’t say exactly where they found the weapon, or the motive for the Thursday night killings.
Terrell’s mother, 39-year-old Joy Deleston, was an actress who appeared in locally produced films as well as a 7-1/2 year veteran of the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office. She previously worked for the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office in South Georgia.
She and her daughters, Micaiah, 11, and Jelani, 4, all died of gunshot wounds, according to Gwinnett County police.
Jelani is the daughter of rap star Juvenile, according to child support records in Gwinnett County. The rapper, whose real name is Terius Gray, could not be reached for comment on Friday.
Micaiah was a sixth-grader at Richards Middle School, said Sloan Roach, spokeswoman for Gwinnett County schools. Roach said grief counselors were sent Friday to her school and Central Gwinnett.
Terrell was being held Friday in the DeKalb County Jail, Gwinnett police Cpl. Illana Spellman said. The sophomore at Central Gwinnett High School was charged with three counts of murder and three counts of aggravated assault.
A clerk in Gwinnett County Magistrate Court said Terrell today waived his first appearance hearing, where he would have been formally notified of the charges against him and appointed an attorney. Defense attorney Lyle Porter has been assigned to represent him. Porter could not be reached because he was in court on another case, his office said.
Terrell is expected appear in court for a probable cause hearing some time next week.
The shootings occurred about 8 p.m. Thursday at the family’s two-story home at 415 Madison Chase Drive, in the Lawrenceville area.
The deputy’s 17-year-old son, who lived with his mother and sisters, arrived while police were at the house.
“Investigators interviewed Mr. Terrell and as a result of the interview, there was enough probable cause to charge him with the murder of his mother and two sisters,” Spellman said. The motive for the shootings was still under investigation, she said.
Deleston worked in the sex crimes unit of the sheriff’s office and interacted with registered sex offenders, maintaining a database of their addresses in Gwinnett, according to Dave Schiralli, another police spokesman.
She was a single mother and aspiring actress who had played supporting roles in several local independent films, such as “Riff,” “Dark Secrets” and “The Effect.” IronE Singleton, a writer, director and actor from Atlanta, acted in several movies with her in recent years.
He was devastated upon hearing news of her death Thursday night.
“Every time I was around she seemed like she was a great mom. She seemed like she wanted the best for her children and she was doing all she can,” Singleton said.
Singleton said he and others in the insular Atlanta filmmaking community had been discussing the slayings all morning. Everyone was baffled about what could have prompted Terrell to lash out at his mother and two younger sisters, Singleton said.
Singleton said he last spoke to the 17-year-old at a movie screening in November.
“[Terrell] was a good kid, that’s the reason why it’s so disturbing because you just didn’t see that coming,” Singleton said. “He seemed very humble. He was respectful.”
Deleston was a supporting actress in three short films directed by Robinson Vil and his Atlanta-based production company Villain Pictures Ã¢â‚¬â€”The Effect,” “Riff,” and “Dark Secrets.”
Vil said he met Deleston when she auditioned for a role in 2004 and immediately fell in love with her personality. He wrote parts for her in all his subsequent movies, which she happily took even though Vil couldn’t afford pay the actors.
“I told her, wherever this goes you’re coming with me,” Vil said. “She was a very good actress. So now with this happening, it’s just like a big blow.”