Employee from February incident out on bond

Mary Elaine Newberry, bond

GILMER COUNTY, Ga. – February saw a threat and incident at the Gilmer Schools’ Transportation Depot as a single woman allegedly walked into the facility with a firearm. Now, nearly 150 days later, Mary Newberry has left the detention center on bond.

Allegedly the woman behind the incident, she faces felony charges of Aggravated Assault and Carrying a Weapon in School Safety Zone among others, according to information on the Sheriff’s website for the Detention Center. She also face misdemeanor charges of Simple Battery, Pointing or Aiming a gun at another, and Loitering at or Disrupting Schools.

CCMS Clear Creek Middle, bond

Clear Creek Middle School in Gilmer County 

Posting the bond late last week after it was set by Superior Court Judge John Worcester, she has been placed under 15 conditions according to documents filed with the Clerk of Superior Court.

Those conditions include the bond payment, house arrest, “no contact” orders with a 500-foot distance for witnesses and alleged victims, “no contact” orders including a 500-foot distance from properties of the Gilmer County Charter School System, restrictions on employment with any school system, ankle monitoring, restrictions from firearms, voluntary searches, and other restrictions against committing crimes in general.

In addition, the documents do reference a reasoning as for the bond coming now. The documents stated that both parties “have reached a consent agreement (due to the alleged present physical health conditions of the defendant at the request of the Gilmer County Jail) to the amount of bond and the conditions of bond for the Defendant…”

The alleged incident occurred on the afternoon of February 27, 2020, around 1:30 p.m. and caused the nearby Clear Creek Middle School to go into a “precautionary lock-down.”

As Schools Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs reported at the time, there were no injuries from the incident.

South State Bank break-in sees immediate arrest

South State

EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – Confirmation has come from East Ellijay Police Chief Larry Callahan about a break-in at South State Bank in East Ellijay involving a local man.

According to a booking report from the Gilmer Detention Center, Charles Jake Yarbrough was arrested for allegedly breaking into and damaging the business at 2:50 a.m. today, April 6, 2020.

While the Police Chief has confirmed the incident, he noted that some details are still unclear and the police are still working the case. According to the Police’s Incident Report, a fire alarm was triggered at South State Bank just before 1:00 a.m. As Fire units responded, they reported now showing of a fire, but an open door and requested law enforcement response. Firefighters found a person inside of the bank as they investigated.

When police arrived, they investigated and found damage to doors, door sensors, a glass security box, door locks, and other items. The reports also indicate that as Yarbrough was placed into custody, he allegedly pulled a plug on a rear camera inside of a patrol vehicle.

Yarbrough allegedly caused damage to the building during the incident and is facing two felony charges and one misdemeanor charge at this time including Burglary – 1st Degree (Felony), Interference with Government Property (Felony), and Criminal Damage to Property – 2nd Degree (Misdemeanor).

He was booked into t he Gilmer County Detention Center  with a $17,500 Bond.

According to Chief Callahan, it does not appear that any accounts, information, money, or safety boxes were accessed during the incident.

Clear Creek Middle School under lockdown

CCMS Clear Creek Middle

UPDATE: New information from Gilmer Schools Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs has confirmed a firearm was involved with the incident at Clear Creek.

According to reports, several transportation employees detained the individual until help could arrive. Dr. Downs stated, “The School Resource Officer from the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO) stationed at Clear Creek Middle School adjacent to the transportation facility was able to use the Centegix Crisis Alert System to place the school in lockdown instantly and respond immediately to arrest the individual.”

While the Sheriff’s Office continues investigation, the suspect is currently in custody, and is being held at the Gilmer County Detention Center.

Dr. Downs went on to add, “Our district is fortunate to be supported by a School Board and Board of Commissioners who recognize the need and work together to fund GCSO School Resource Officers at each school. Steps taken by our system to have these School Resource Officers and the Centegix Crisis Alert System in place today has proven invaluable in ensuring the safety of our students and staff.”


Original Story:

EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – On the afternoon of February 27, 2020, an incident involving a disgruntled employee of the Gilmer County School System resulted in a lockdown at Clear Creek Middle School.

According to a statement from the Gilmer County School System, the lockdown was precautionary. The Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office was called in to handle the situation and the school system says the incident was “quickly contained.”

The incident occurred about 1:30 p.m. when the employee began “a disturbance at the transportation facility next to Clear Creek Middle School out Yukon Road.

The school also offered the following in their statement, “In a lockdown, all doors and windows are locked and noone is allowed either on or off school campus. Please know that our students were not in danger. This was implemented as a precautionary measure toward ensuring their safety.”

Gilmer Schools Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs confirmed that a disgruntled employee showed up in a threatening manner, but declined to comment further saying that the incident is still being investigated by the Gilmer Sheriff’s Office. However, she did also confirm that there was no major injuries or damage to the facility during the incident.

Details released on Christmas Eve shooting

Christmas Eve Shooting

GILMER COUNTY, Ga. – Details are finally coming to light over a shooting reported over Christmas Eve involving response from Gilmer’s Sheriff’s Deputies, Criminal Investigation Division (CID), and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI).

According to the incident report released from the Sheriff’s Office, officers en route to respond to other situations were redirected just after 7 p.m. to respond to an incident on Newberry Drive, near Old Bucktown Road, regarding a “person shot” report.

Officers arrived on scene where a Green Ford Focus was blocking the entrance to a residence, some officers moved past the vehicle on foot where they found Dustin Mays shot and bleeding from his chest. The report indicates authorities immediately began first aid and EMT’s continued upon arrival.

Authorities entered the cabin on-site to secure the location and the report indicates that officers found the weapon used in the shooting inside the cabin as well.

According to the report, two others were involved in the incident and officers made contact with these two on-site. Officers remained with the two people as the initial investigation ensued.

As officers moved the vehicle blocking the entrance and EMT’s were amid care for Mays, the call for a helicopter was sent and Mays was later life-flighted to Atlanta Medical Center. One officer did note a strong smell of Marijuana from the car, however, no specific information has been released saying who the vehicle belonged to.

The two others found on-scene were released by authorities and CID and the GBI are continuing the investigation. As of January 2, 2020, when the report was initially filed, indications point that none of the three have been labeled as suspects nor been charged with anything. Additionally, authorities have not made any confirmations on the shooting being accidental, intentional, or self-defense.

However, it is our current understanding that the investigation is still ongoing and FYN will continue posting new information on the Christmas Eve shooting when available.

Replacement doesn’t mean resolution in Fire Department


ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer County is still amid disorder this week as Gilmer County Commission Chairman Charlie Paris confirmed with FYN that the current Gilmer County Interim Fire Chief, Brian Scudder, has left the office.

“We just weren’t on the same page about some things,” said Paris on Thursday as he reiterated the changes he is hoping to see come in the Fire Department of Gilmer County. Scudder is still in the Fire Department but is no longer serving as Interim Chief.

Former Public Safety Director Tony Pritchett

Former Public Safety Director Tony Pritchett

These changes began when former Public Safety Director Tony Pritchett resigned from office in early February. Though originally resigning effective on March 15, Paris said he later had decided that Pritchett’s presence was not coordinating with his plans for the future and made an agreement with Pritchett to pay his original agreement out to March 15, but to remove Pritchett from the county immediately.

Chairman Paris originally wanted to separate the position into three positions including Fire Chief, EMA Director, and Public Safety Director. In Paris’ eyes, the Public Safety Director would have been the Department’s head with managerial responsibilities with EMA Director and Fire Chief serving under him in their areas of expertise with the requirements, technicalities, and skills required in those positions.

However, he settled for two positions instead of three and named Brian Scudder to Interim Fire Chief and Keith Kucera to the Interim Public Safety/EMA Director.

However, in the progressing weeks, conflict and turmoil have arisen in the Fire Department resulting in two internal investigations and several changes in the systems make-up.

Paris states he has had enough with the way things have been in the Fire Department. “There is s a significant amount of turmoil in the Fire Department right now,” says Paris.

Soon after naming the two to the position, an incident at Fire Station 1 occurred with one firefighter finding his bed saturated in water. An investigation ensued immediately into the occurrence. Paris openly admitted that while they did not discover exactly who was behind the act, he felt he did send a message to the department about the changes he wants.

However, the Fire Department’s other investigation went much further as Paris states that on a Friday morning he offered Scudder the position of Fire Chief, Kucera was out of town, so Paris waited until Monday morning to offer the Public Safety Director Position. Paris states that at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, he held a meeting with Tony Pritchett to share his appointments with him.

Gilmer County Commission Chairman Charlie Paris

Gilmer County Commission Chairman Charlie Paris

Then, Tuesday morning, Paris received a complaint about Kucera trying to get people to protest the appointment of Scudder to Fire Chief. After meeting with Kucera and interrogating him on the allegations, Paris called in several firefighters that were set to protest the Fire Chief position. Questioning each individually about how and when they found out about Brian Scudder’s appointment which had not been announced yet. The overwhelming response indicated that all but one had learned about the appointments early Monday morning from Tony Pritchett, having found out about the appointments prior to his meeting with Charlie.

Paris tells FYN that the investigation cleared Kucera of any allegations of protest or antagonism in Department. He continued saying that most of the response he has had is positive about Kucera’s appointment.

Moving past the investigations, Paris says he is confident moving forward with his appointment of Keith Kucera to interim Public Safety Director and his new appointment he is announcing of Mike Dempsey to Interim Fire Chief.

At this point, there is still no indication as to who or what is causing instigations in the Fire and EMS, but Paris seemed to indicate that he doesn’t care. He says he is focused on moving forward and buckling down on the departments’ disciplinary actions.

Naming Mike Dempsey as the new interim Fire Chief, Paris says that he has gone about the appointment slightly different as this time, he has taken recommendations from Kucera and references to consider. Part of the consideration Paris had for Dempsey in the interim position is that Dempsey has no consideration or desire for the permanent position.

Fire and Rescue Weekly Status Report 12/9 -12/15

Dates Structure Fires Fire Alarms Emergency Med Calls (EMS)
12/9/18-12/15/18 1 1 99
MVC (Vehicle Accidents Haz. Conditions Other Total Calls
12 6 1 120

Fire & Rescue Weekly Report 12/09 – 12/15

Police & Government
Dates Structure Fires Fire Alarms Emergency Med Calls (EMS)
12/9/18-12/15/18 1 1 99


MVC (Vehicle Accidents Haz. Conditions Other Total Calls
12 6 1 120

Fire & Rescue Weekly Report 12/2 – 12/8

Police & Government
Dates Structure Fires Brush Fires Emergency Med Calls (EMS) Extrications
12/2/18-12/8/18 1 1 86 1

MVC (Vehicle Accidents Haz. Conditions Other Total Calls
6 5 1 101

Fire and Rescue Weekly Status Report 11/25 – 12/01

Police & Government
Dates Structure Fires Brush Fires Fire Alarms Emergency Med Calls (EMS)
11/25/18-12/1/18 2 1 1 82
MVC (Vehicle Accidents Vehicle Fires Haz. Conditions Search/Tech. Rescue Total Calls
10 1 7 1 105


Fire and Rescue Weekly Status Report 11/25 – 12/01


Fire and Rescue Weekly Status Report

Structure Fires Brush Fires Fire Alarms Emergency Med Calls (EMS) MVC (Vehicle Accidents Vehicle Fires Haz. Conditions Search/Tech. Rescue

Total Calls

2 1 1 82 10 1 7 1


Fire and Rescue Weekly Status Report 12/02 – 12/08

Police & Government
Dates Structure Fires Brush Fires Extractions Emergency Med Calls (EMS)



1 1 1 86


MVC (Vehicle Accidents) Haz. Conditions Other Total Calls
6 5 1 101


Gilmer Fire and Rescue Weekly Report 11-4/11-10

Police & Government
Dates Structure Fires Brush Fires Fire Alarms Emergency Med Calls (EMS)
11/4/18-11/10/18 1 1 2 85
MVC (Vehicle Accidents Haz. Conditions Air Transports Search/Tech. Rescue Total Calls
6 8 1 1 104

Fire & Rescue Weekly Report 10/21-10/27

Police & Government
Dates Fire Alarms Emergency Med Calls (EMS) MVC (Vehicle Accidents
10/21/18-10/27/18 1 77 4
Haz. Conditions Other Total Calls
6 2 90

Fire and Rescue Weekly Status Report 7/29-8/4

Police & Government
Dates Fire Alarms Emergency Med Calls (EMS) MVC (Vehicle Accidents Vehicle Fires
7/29/18-8/4/18 4 91 10 1
Haz. Conditions Search/Tech. Rescue Other Total Calls
17 1 3 127

Fire and Rescue Weekly Status Report 7/22 – 7/28

Dates Fire Alarms Emergency Med Calls (EMS) MVC (Vehicle Accidents
7/22/18-7/28/18 2 82 6
Vehicle Fires Haz. Conditions Other Total Calls
2 11 7 110

Fire and Rescue Weekly Status Report 9/2 – 9/8

Police & Government
Dates Structure Fires Emergency Med Calls (EMS) MVC (Vehicle Accidents Vehicle Fires
9/2/18-9/8/18 1 84 8 1
Haz. Conditions Air Transports Other Total Calls
3 1 4 101

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