CONYERS — One of three teenagers allegedly attempting to rob a home on White Oak Court early Monday morning had a handgun and allegedly fired shots at three people in the front yard of the home before the homeowner returned fire and killed all three of the teens, according to authorities.

Deputies responded about 4 a.m. Monday to a shots fired call at the residence, which is at the end of a cul-de-sac. When they arrived, they found the three male teens with gunshot wounds. One was pronounced dead at the scene and the other two were transported to a local hospital where they were pronounced dead.

“To this point, the investigation has revealed that the three now deceased individuals had their faces covered as they approached the residence and attempted to rob three individuals in the front yard,” stated Deputy Lee Thomas in a news release. “One of the attempted robbery suspects brandished a handgun and fired shots at the residents before one of the intended robbery victims returned fire.The victims of the attempted robbery were all uninjured, but the three attempted robbery suspects were all shot during the exchange of gunfire and succumbed to their injuries.”

The teens were 15 and 16 years old, and two of them were brothers. All three were from Conyers. Their identities have not yet been released pending notification of family members.

Brian Jenkins lives at the corner of White Oak Court and White Oak Street, just off Flat Shoals Road. He said he was watching TV about 4:02 a.m. when he heard “light shooting, followed by some loud shooting.” Jenkins said from the sound of the shots that there was more than one gun involved, and that it sounded like it was happening right next to his house.

After checking to see if his wife was OK, Jenkins said he went to get their weapon and heard someone calling for help. He looked out his bedroom window and saw one of the teens lying on his lawn.

“I immediately called 911, and the Sheriff’s deputies came immediately,” said Jenkins. “I was astounded at the speed at which they came. I later found out that two other suspects were shot down at the lower part of my street.”

Jenkins said he knows the gentleman who shot the trio.

“He is a truck driver and his mother lives down there by herself. They’re beautiful people. They mind their own business, but they’ll do anything for anyone in the community. That’s just the way they are. He’s seldom in the neighborhood because he’s a truck driver.

“From what I gather, the young men were hanging in the area at 4 a.m. in the morning,” added Jenkins. “From talking to my neighbors, they tried to mug him and he defended himself. As a result of that, gunfire ensued and the deputies took him, his girlfriend and his nephew in for questioning.”

Jenkins, who has announced he is running for Rockdale County Commission chair in 2020, said he is saddened by what happened.

“I’m harmed tremendously,” he said. “I’ve been living here for over 15 years and this is a beautiful neighborhood. We never have any problems in this neighborhood. We all know one another.

“But it lends credence to points that I’ve been raising for a very long time. We must create preventative programs for these young people. From what I understand, these kids were 15 and 16 years old, but now their parents have to bury them.

“If we do not invest in these young people, then what we’ve seen this morning in my neighborhood can lend itself to other neighborhoods in the county, and I don’t want that. We need to repurpose some of these vacant buildings and put in some youth prevention programs so that we can infiltrate this scourge. If we can find millions of dollars to building youth detention centers, why can’t we build youth prevention centers?”

Investigators have been actively interviewing the three individuals from the residence and other neighbors with information. No charges have been filed against anyone at this time.

Some residents are questioning whether deadly force was needed to stop the robbery attempt. Evangelist Renee Simpson of Bible Way Worldwide Ministries will be holding a candlelight vigil for the three teens Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. The vigil will be held at the dead end of Ridge Court in the Hunting Creek subdivision in Conyers.

The investigation is still very active and the RCSO is asking for anyone with information in connection with this incident to contact the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office at 770-278-8000 and speak with Investigator Dwayne Smith or Sgt. Jeremy Best.

Senior Reporter

Born and raised in Decatur, Ga. Graduated from Shorter College in Rome, Ga. in 1979 with B.A. in Communications. Worked in community newspapers for 26 years. Started at Rockdale Citizen/Newton Citizen in January 2016.