Crime

Anglers shot at frustrated by lack of charges in Tobesofkee case

Two fishermen reportedly shot at on Lake Tobesofkee more than two weeks ago expressed their frustration Tuesday that no charges have been made in the episode.

Adriel Miles and Shelby Smith were two of the three people fishing from a boat in a small cove on the lake off Lotus Point Drive on March 21 when someone emerged from a nearby home and fired a weapon “seven to 10” times toward them, using a gun with a laser scope attached.

No one was injured. Miles’ son, 18-year-old Adriel Miles Jr., the third passenger in the boat that night, wasn’t at Tuesday’s gathering at the lake to discuss the case.

Smith and the elder Miles said they were frustrated that no apparent progress has been made, even though they were able to tell Bibb County deputies which home the shots came from. The home belongs to Jalal Ghali, a Macon cardiologist, according to an incident report in the case.

“This is a situation where justice needs to be served,” Miles said, adding that he’s fished on the lake most of his life.

“No one is above the law, but at this point, whoever shot at us is above the law,” Smith added. “No one has been arrested. (Deputies) went to the house that night. Evidence was there. The shooter was there. They dropped the ball. Sheriff (David) Davis knows this. ... This is where we are now: No one’s arrested, no one’s held accountable. The only person that needs to be held accountable is Sheriff Davis.”

Davis said Tuesday that the deputies who went to the house failed in their duties. Ghali refused to allow them into the house to investigate, telling them instead to return the next day after he had spoken with his attorney, the incident report said.

Davis said investigators didn’t go the house until a couple of days later. They couldn’t find a gun, though there was evidence suggesting that a gun had been in the house, he said.

Davis has reprimanded both deputies involved. Neither one has been suspended or terminated.

“(The lack of investigation) is a failing, and as sheriff, I take responsibility,” he said. “Had they acted in a different manner (that night), there likely would have been a different outcome. ... I regret it as deeply as I can, and I’ve learned from it. They let the citizens of Bibb County down, and they let me down as sheriff.”

Investigators have been in contact with the district attorney’s office about possible charges that authorities could pursue, Davis said. With no investigation that night and with no eyewitness who can identify the shooter, Davis acknowledged that investigators will have a difficult time making a case.

Ghali has been “somewhat cooperative,” he said, but has been dealing with investigators mostly through his attorney.

According to the incident report, a neighbor confirmed shots to investigators, telling deputies that teenagers in his home became fearful when they heard them.

Miles and Smith accused the sheriff’s office of showing favoritism in the case, a charge the sheriff denied.

Davis said his office “enforces the law equally.”

“We don’t look at a person’s occupation,” he said. “We’ve shown we don’t work that way. ... This was not a concerted effort on the deputies’ part. It was just basic ineptness.”

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.

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