SYLACAUGA -- Four people have been arrested on felony assault charges in connection with the beating of Sylacauga High School student Brian Ogle last month.
Quartez Lamar Walker, 20, was charged with assault in the first degree and was being held on a bond of $20,000 Tuesday night. Bobby Ronchea Brown, 19; Landah Grant Ealy Jr., 18 and Daveon Shamareya Nix, 20, were each charged with assault in the second degree and given bonds of $15,000.
Nix is the son of Sylacauga District 2 City Councilwoman-elect Tiffany Nix.
Walker and Brown were arrested on the campus of Stillman College in Tuscaloosa on Tuesday. Ealy was arrested on the Montgomery campus of Auburn University, and Nix was arrested in Sylacauga, according to a press release issued by Sylacauga police Chief Kelly Johnson on Tuesday evening.
Talladega County District Attorney Steve Giddens said Tuesday that Walker was facing the more serious charge because he believed the evidence to be that Walker was the only one who was armed at the time of the assault. The other three are accused of causing serious physical injury without a weapon. Those charges may change when the case is presented to a grand jury, however.
Giddens added that he believed Walker was armed with a handgun, which he allegedly used to strike Ogle in some fashion.
Giddens said Ealy had had an initial court appearance Tuesday before District Court Judge Jeb Fannin, and that the other three would have their initial court appearances Wednesday, possibly via video conference.
“SPD obtained warrants for assault on four prior SHS students and spent the day running the defendants down and making arrests,” Johnson said in the release. “There has been no evidence to support that any current SHS students were involved in the assault.”
Ogle, a 17-year-old student at Sylacauga High School, was attacked in the parking lot of the old Ace Hardware store on West Fort Williams Street around 10 p.m. Sept. 30. The teen was hospitalized at University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital with his injuries. A UAB spokesman could not confirm whether or not Ogle was still a patient Tuesday night.
The assault has led to heightened security at Sylacauga High School, a community prayer service and two community prayer walks. It has also sparked unfounded rumors of competing rallies by organizations such as the Black Panthers and the Ku Klux Klan. Sylacauga police have consistently denied that these rallies were going to take place.
Sylacauga police and the Alabama Fusion Center have been monitoring social media posts to keep up with any potential threats stemming from the incident, Johnson said last week.
Councilwoman-elect Nix spoke to The Daily Home last week for a story about how incoming council members felt about recent developments in the city, including the racial tensions and Ogle assault.
As part of her comments, Nix’s said children do what they see their parents do.
“If we’re upholding them in their wrongdoings, then we are as much to blame as they are,” she said. “Let’s lead by example, let’s be kind to one another, let’s lend a hand to our neighbors no matter what color they are, let’s stand together and show our children that we love them enough to put our petty differences aside.
“People, it is not about us, it’s about them. We live our lives to make this world a better place. I really believe with prayer, unity and hard work, we can end what is going on in our city.”
When reached Tuesday night, Nix declined to comment.
Johnson on Tuesday thanked those who helped his department with this case.
“Our department would like to thank all of those that cooperated in this investigation as witnesses,” he said. “SPD would also like to thank the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, Homicide Division, for their help in locating and apprehending the two suspects in their county.
“SPD investigators have worked tirelessly to bring this case to the point that it is at. SPD does not expect to make any further arrests at this time.”
Giddens also had high praise for the work of Johnson and Sylacauga police.
“They did a great job,” he said. “I got a lot of calls, and I know Chief Johnson did, too, but the investigation was very thorough and very careful. There was no rush to judgement here.”
Assault in the first degree is a class B felony in Alabama, punishable upon conviction by two to 20 years in prison. Assault in the second degree is a class C felony, punishable by one year and one day to 10 years in prison.